Brixton turns to Dylan in search for some way out of property apocalypse

Brixton Estates was in lyrical mood yesterday as it revealed the credit crunch had forced it into a loss for the first half of the year and complained of "confusion" in the market... by quoting apocalyptic lyrics from Bob Dylan.

The group succeeded really in confusing the market as it quoted the entire first verse from Dylan's 1967 classic All Along the Watchtower in its interim statement. It said: "The apocalyptic opening lines seem to capture the beleaguered mindset of the UK commercial real estate market."

The London-based group revealed, without the help of any Sixties musicians, that it had slumped from a £192m pre-tax profit in the first half of 2007 to a loss of £236.7m, and suffered big falls in the valuation of its property.

The group's net asset value, a key indicator for real estate investment trusts, has spiralled downwards by almost 18 per cent to 448p per share. Following the announcement, the shares fell almost 10 per cent.

Brixton, run by Tim Wheeler, said: "As we anticipated, the commercial property market has become more challenging in response to the credit crunch and slowing economies. There is confusion – and an element of denial – over direct property pricing due to lack of transactions."

In a sign of the way the market has changed, rental income has climbed 13.5 per cent to £39.4m from £34.7m in the first half.

As part of the group's offbeat announcement, it illustrated the front cover of its half year report with a drawing of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Underneath, the slogan read: "The market may be in apocalyptic mood but there is some way out of here."

To keep the Dylan theme going, after quoting "There must be some way out of here/said the joker to the thief/There's too much confusion/I can't get no relief", it talked of the "thieves" as funded or equity-based opportunist buyers and the "jokers" as the owners who will not sell. "There is no 'way out' of this impasse – yet," it added.

The group said that since it had released its interim management statement, "sentiment has worsened and there are more indicators of a downturn in activities ... With growth slowing, the interest rate/cost of money scenario unclear and inflationary concerns, it will be surprising if this does not translate into lower activity across UK businesses".

Brixton was formed in 1924, and became a public company just over a decade later. Since 1997 it has focused on the UK specifically, selling off operations in Australia, Belgium, Germany and the US. It became a real estate investment trust last year. The group, which managers 19 million square feet and specialises in industrial property, is especially strong in west London with warehouses in Heathrow and Park Royal.

It said yesterday it had sold £560m worth of secondary property in 2006 in anticipation of a downturn and added that its development programme completed in April this year. "At present, we have no new construction work taking place or anticipated in the immediate future," it added. This includes stopping work at a former Guinness Brewery.

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?