Workspace boosts divi after profit jump

Office provider Workspace Group said increasing demand had pushed up rents and occupancy, in turn boosting profits.

Office provider Workspace Group said increasing demand had pushed up rents and occupancy, in turn boosting profits.

Profit before tax was up 46% at £24.6m for the first half of the year, with earnings per share flat at 5.9p.

The firm boosted its interim dividend per share by 10% to 3.22p.

Its like-for-like rent roll was up by £1.3m - 3.1% - in the six months to September 2012.

Around 40% of this increase in rent came from higher occupancy, with 60% from the rise coming from higher rent per square foot.

The firm said rental growth would increasingly be driven by improvements in pricing as it reached high levels of occupancy and demand, particularly at the company's business centres.

Overall occupancy at September 2012 was 84.6%, down 0.7% since March.

This was due to a drop in occupancy at properties being refurbished (down 9.6%) and redeveloped (down 7.6%), as well as two property disposals.

However, it was up on the like-for-like measure, reaching 88.8%, the group added.

Workspace's underlying property valuation was up 2.2% to £781m since March.

"Workspace has had an active and productive first half of the year reflected by the growth of both our core operational income as well as the capital value of our assets," said Chief Executive Jamie Hopkins.

"During the period our marketing efforts have continued to drive occupancy and rent roll and we have pushed forward with various repositioning, refurbishment and redevelopment initiatives."

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