The portfolio valuation was up 6.9% to £9.6 billion, and BL embarked on the construction of 6 new London office projects including the 700,000 sq ft building for UBS at Broadgate, the 610,000 sq ft Leadenhall Building in London's insurance district and the 500,000 sq ft NEQ building. BL has been savvy in spreading the risk of these developments with partners such as Blackstone and Oxford Properties.
BL has not been especially active in trading during the year, selling £285 million worth at 7.6% above the March 2010 valuation and buying £464 million (BL share £427 million) of mostly retail assets including the Drakes Circle shopping centre in Plymouth for £240 million. That was a bank disposal and it is planning on picking up more of those going forward.
Chief Executive Chris Grigg said the results for the year to March 31 showed it had outperformed the market, noting the company was well placed to continue its strong performance.
"We have made a significant commitment to London office development and also continued to build on our high quality retail portfolio," Grigg said in a statement.
"Our strong letting performance across our portfolio shows clearly that there is still demand from occupiers for the well-located prime retail and London office assets we provide and we expect this to continue," he said.
Over the last eighteen months BL successfully refinanced over £1.1 billion debt and revolving facilities. BL has a group LTV of 24% (2010 25%) which reflects the Group Net debt of £1.714 billion, which has an average maturity of 10.7 years.
BL has massive firepower available, since the year end it has agreed a new £560 million 5 year unsecured revolving facility with a syndicate of 11 banks, including several who are new unsecured lenders to the Group. The margin is 125 bps over LIBOR. This facility, increased from £350 million due to over-subscription, will replace an existing £720 million facility which would have expired in August 2011. As a result, total bank facilities with maturity of more than 3 years have increased to £1.5 billion (£1.2 billion undrawn) and the date at which the Group has a refinancing requirement (based on projected expenditure) has been extended to June 2014.
Over the next two year years, £1,364 million (BL Share £572 million) of drawn debt within joint ventures and funds is due to mature.
The company maintained its full-year dividend of 6.5 pence, meaning its total dividend for the year was stable at 26 pence. Shares closed on Friday at 578.5p, not much above NAV, which values the firm at £5.132 billion.