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LondonMetric's profits surge following merger

LondonMetric, the FTSE 250-listed real estate group created after the merger of London & Stamford Property and Metric Property Investments in January, saw profits more than double in the year ended March as the two companies combined for the last two months of the fiscal year.

LondonMetric, the FTSE 250-listed real estate group created after the merger of London & Stamford Property and Metric Property Investments in January, saw profits more than double in the year ended March as the two companies combined for the last two months of the fiscal year.

The firm, which now focuses on out-of-town retail and distribution assets, saw adjusted pre-tax profit surge 105% from £20.4m to £39.9m.

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This reflects the activity of London & Stamford for the whole year along the combined activity of the enlarged group since the completion of the merger. If this was adjusted to include a full year's activity from both groups to provide a real year-on-year comparison, profits would have risen 39% to £45.6m.

Net assets at the end of the year totalled £676.7m, up from £630.9m the year before. However on a per share basis, adjusted net assets declined from 116p to 108p on its enlarged capital.

The company maintained its full-year dividend at 7.0p per share but said that it would "pursue a stable dividend policy which will be reviewed once the dividend is sufficiently covered". Dividend cover, expressed as a percentage of underlying profit, fell from 64% to 52%.

"The merger of London & Stamford and Metric Property has ledto transformational change both in respect of the newly integrated LondonMetric and in reshaping the portfolio to meet our new strategic priorities," said Chief Executive Andrew Jones.

"The enlarged group is more focused yet remains opportunistic, operating in areas where we have ahigh level of expertise which allows us to capitalise on the combined skill sets of the former companies."

LondonMetric is currently undergoing a reduction in its residential portfolio, which it says doesn't support its dividend policy, and has already agreed the sale of 116 units for nearly £60m.

Meanwhile, it also plans to reduce its City of London investments "which does not reflect any adverse sentiment to the sector or market, but rather allows us to crystallise the position of those assets".

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