Capital buys its way back into black

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CAPITAL & Regional Properties, which last week announced the planned flotation of its US investments, bounced back into the black in the six months to June and increased its interim dividend by 60 per cent, writes Tom Stevenson.

Martin Barber, chairman, said: 'Intensive efforts have been made over the past 18 months to increase the UK portfolio and I am pleased that it has more than doubled during the period.' Capital spent pounds 26m on acquisitions during the first six months, largely financed by new shares. Properties bought included a portfolio of industrial buildings, an office block in Swindon and a shopping centre in Aberdeen.

Profits after tax were pounds 151,000, compared with a pounds 137,000 loss in 1992. Rental income rose a third to pounds 4.1m ( pounds 3.0m), thanks in part to a 22 per cent appreciation of the dollar against sterling. Earnings per share were 0.21p (loss of 1.48p) and the interim dividend was increased to 0.5p (0.3p).

In the US, the company is preparing to merge its American operations with a Chicago property investment group, before floating the whole as a real estate investment trust.

Capital plans to retain a minority stake in the trust for three years after the flotation. Apart from reducing debt, the deal should increase US income.