Why Land Securities Is Up 26% This Year

LONDON -- Land Securities (ISE: LAND.L) has advanced over 26% to 812 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100 (UKX).

The company, which is the biggest commercial property business (and the largest REIT) in the U.K., seems to have impressed investors with a series of resilient statements.

During January, Land Securities issued an interim management statement for the third quarter in which it said that the company was continuing to execute well against its operational targets, with a reduction in void levels and the completion of a number of development lettings. It also said there was good progress on edge-of-town and out-of-town retail developments, including the grant of planning permission for a 146,000 square-foot scheme in Crawley.

During June, the company published its annual results for the year to 31 March 2012. Despite a significant slump in pre-tax profit of 58%, it said revenue profit had risen 9%, to 299.4 million pounds, and that its property sales were 4.3% higher on average than March valuations. The company reported a total business return of 7.9% and a rise of 2.8% in the total dividend for the year, to 29 pence.

Then in July, Land Securities issued an interim management statement for the first quarter. It reported good momentum on lettings across all schemes, with 9.3 million pounds of development lettings signed since 1 April. The company also said that there had been 67.6 million pounds of acquisitions in the same period, at an average yield of 4.1%, with no disposals.

Robert Noel, Land Securities' chief executive, commented:

"Our focus continues to be to secure income from our developments. We are pleased with progress and continue to see interest from occupiers, despite ongoing uncertain economic news flow. While transactions are taking longer, occupier interest and intent remains firm as businesses seek out efficient space for their future needs.

"We remain confident that the development pipeline offers exceptional opportunity to deliver growth while our active asset management and strong financial base underpin our activities."

Land Securities' half-year results will be published on 8 November, which may reveal further encouraging news that can impress investors.

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Jon does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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