Capital & Counties boosted by high demand in London

Capital & Counties Properties said its financial position remains strong after being boosted by high demand in the central London retail and residential property market in the first quarter.

Capital & Counties Properties said its financial position remains strong after being boosted by high demand in the central London retail and residential property market in the first quarter.

The group kicked off the year with eight new retailer and restaurant signings in London's Covent Garden including Galeria Melissa.

Galeria Melissa signed a 10-year lease for 43 King Street, the unit previously occupied by Rugby Ralph Lauren, to create a new flagship concept for the Brazilian shoe brand.

New lettings and renewals, representing £2.0m of rental income per annum, were contracted at 10.3% above the December 2012 estimated rental value (ERV) during the year to date.

Elsewhere in Covent Garden, the company launched its second luxury residential conversion, The Russell, in April. The development comprises five apartments with two duplex penthouses and three luxury lateral apartments.

In Earls Court, the company made progress on its masterplan for the development of residential homes.

The Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government approved the land transfer of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in April which provides the option to acquire about 22 acres of land for £105m plus the re-provision of the 760 homes currently on the estates.

The company ended the period with gross debt of £343m, down from the previous quarter's £348m. Cash balance fell to £145m from £185m.

"Capco has had an active start to the year reflecting the positive conditions in the central London retail and residential property markets and the quality of the group's portfolio," Chief Executive Ian Hawksworth said.

"We continue to see strong demand for new space at Covent Garden from retailers and restaurants with a number of new signings."

Shares rose 0.33% to 308.40p at 08:45 Friday.

RD

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