Burford joins Japanese to create brave new Segaworld

Burford Holdings, the fast-growing property investment company, is tying up with Sega, the Japanese entertainment group, to develop Europe's first high-technology indoor theme park at one of London's busiest tourist attractions.

Segaworld will occupy 100,000 square feet of the Trocadero, the troubled leisure complex. Burford acquired the Trocadero in September, from the receivers to the failed Power Corporation of Ireland, for £94m. The site, on one of Europe's busiest tourist thoroughfares, has failed to make money for many previous owners.

The creation of the Sega theme park, the first outside Japan, is dependent on Westminster Council agreeing to a change of use for space previously earmarked for offices.

If approved, the indoor park will provide six main interactive rides, a carnival area, a sports zone, theme restaurants and shopping. Existing tenants in the Trocadero include the Planet Hollywood restaurant and a seven-screen MGM cinema.

The acquisition of the Trocadero last year was the most challenging deal for a company whose record of buying problem sites cheaply and selling at the top of the market has seen its market value rise from £8m at flotation in 1987 to more than £300m at its peak last year.

Burford was one of the few property companies to see the crash coming in the 1980s and sold out between 1988 and 1990 to see it through the recession with a cushion of net cash.

The company then started buying properties on attractive yields of more than 10 per cent in 1990. The market warmed to the entrepreneurial company and in 1993 and 1994 backed two sizeable rights issues which had been priced at a premium to Burford's net asset value, an unusual sign of confidence.

Between 1988 and 1993 Burford's net assets grew by almost 60 per cent despite a fall in the market's asset value of about 16 per cent. During that period its dividend grew by a compound 25 per cent a year.

The Trocadero was a brave move for Burford given its graveyard history for previous owners. The first victim was the electricity industry's pension fund, ESN, which gave up work on renovating the site near Piccadilly Circus after costs spiralled to double the initial estimate. ESN sold the Trocadero to Brent Walker, which formed a joint venture with Power Corporation. Power bought Brent Walker out but a receiver was called in after consent to change use was denied.

Burford's shares closed up 3p at 90p, lower than last year's peak of 113p but almost three times their value two years ago.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee