MEPC fails to raise the pulse: The Investment Column
Wednesday 05 June 1996
Restoring confidence among investors in the City is clearly taking time as the broadly sideways movement in MEPC's shares over the last 18 months indicates. Even yesterday's news of a respectable 11 per cent rise in first-half pre-tax profits to pounds 67m, including a pounds 5m gain on the sale of fixed assets against pounds 7m last time, created few waves.
The market is still digesting MEPC's recent shift in strategy. In November its 17 European properties, which account for about 5 per cent of group assets, were put up for sale so the group could focus on the UK, Australia and the US. Although MEPC will not confirm the name of the buyer, it is an open secret that it is in the middle of selling the European portfolio to Commerz Grundbesitz Invest (CGI), an investment fund managed by Germany's Commerzbank. MEPC says almost two-thirds of the properties are under legally binding contracts for sale, while "handshake deals" cover the rest. MEPC hopes to complete the sale by the end of the year at about their book value of pounds 185m.
Getting out of Europe now is probably a good move given the fragile state of France and Germany. But increasing exposure to the US property market via the recent pounds 190m purchase of North American Property Unit Trust raises more questions than it answers. MEPC owns large shopping malls in California, Atlanta, Florida and Las Vegas, but the US retail climate for local and national operators remains uncertain. Although the UK commercial property market is still patchy, a lower tax charge and interest charge should ensure pre-tax profits reach pounds 140m (pounds 123m) this year and a maintained 20p dividend is not paid out of shareholders' funds. At 415p, down 3p, the shares stand on an estimated 7 per cent discount to net assets, in line with the top seven developers. Unexciting.
- 1 Secret Cinema interview: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: John Prescott condemns bombardment of Gaza as a 'war crime'
Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
Israel-Gaza conflict: President Obama presses Netanyahu to call ‘immediate and unconditional’ Gaza ceasefire
Lauren Goodger calls for tougher laws on revenge porn after sex tape leaks online
Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
iJobs Money & Business
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...