Rosehaugh Stanhope makes pounds 100m write-off at Ludgate

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ROSEHAUGH Stanhope Developments has written a further pounds 100m off its Ludgate development near St Paul's Cathedral, cutting its value to pounds 150m compared with the pounds 350m it cost to build.

The write-offs were disclosed by Stanhope Properties, one of the joint venture partners, when it announced its results for the year to June 1992. These show a loss of pounds 214.7m compared with a pounds 77m loss in the previous period, largely because of a pounds 183.8m exceptional provision. Most of that - pounds 109m - related to Stanhope's share of the RSD write-offs. The pounds 314.4m share of associated companies' results also includes pounds 10.7m relating to RSD.

RSD has also written pounds 38m off the unlet phase 14 of Broadgate, its showcase development at Liverpool Street in London, and pounds 100m off the remaining phases, representing a 9 per cent fall in its value over the period.

Stanhope's accounts also reveal a pounds 13m write-off for its share of the costs so far on the proposed redevelopment of King's Cross by the London Regeneration Consortium, another joint venture with Rosehaugh.

Stuart Lipton, Stanhope's chief executive, said the company had 'tried to be as realistic as possible. Clearly these reflect substantial write-downs and in the main they follow external valuations'.

The dramatic drop in Ludgate's value reflects the fact that only 80,000 sq ft of the Ludgate development - about half of one of the four office buildings - has been let so far. Mr Lipton said there was interest in the other buildings but 'at modest rents'.

The City is dogged by empty office space with vacancy rates approaching 20 per cent. Rents have tumbled from as much as pounds 70 per sq ft to about pounds 25. There was some good news yesterday when MEPC announced that Banespa, the Brazilian bank, had taken 12,000 sq ft at Alban Gate, which is now more than 60 per cent let.

Rosehaugh, Stanhope's partner in RSD, called in the receivers last month. But Stanhope has agreed a refinancing with its bankers that extends its facilities until December 1996, giving it time to sell some of its properties to cut its pounds 150m debt. RSD has also agreed a refinancing of its pounds 950m borrowings.

Stanhope's shares closed 6p down at 17p.