Retail and office sites boost assets at Slough

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SLOUGH Estates, the UK's largest industrial property company, announced a 10 per cent increase in net assets per share during 1993 from 245p to 269p after a 13 per cent uplift in the value of the UK portfolio was offset by further falls in the overseas portfolio.

Retail and office properties led the way, with improvements of 21 and 22 per cent, while the core industrial portfolio, 60 per cent of the company's assets, rose by 9 per cent.

Sir Nigel Mobbs, the chairman, described 1993 as 'a year of paradox'. He said that while there were clear indications that the US and Britain were emerging from recession, many companies were failing or cutting staff numbers.

During the year, 3.4 million square feet of space were let but 2.5 million were returned because of business collapses, retrenchment or relocation.

Sir Nigel said that unemployment remained a serious concern and warned that until more jobs became available the opportunities for a significant increase in development would be limited.

Pre-tax profits in the year to December rose 14 per cent to pounds 53m, while last year's pounds 147m rights issue diluted earnings per share from 7.9p to 7p. Sir Nigel said that strong cash flow justified the maintained dividend of 8.1p.

The shares, which have weakened over the past two months from 313p, closed 2p up at 255p.