Slough seeks property after rents revival

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Slough Estates, Britain's largest industrial landlord, closed 3p higher at 259p yesterday after it announced increased interim profits and a continued improvement in occupancy rates, writes Tom Stevenson.

After several years of inactivity, the company said it wanted to expand its investment portfolio, although Derek Wilson, managing director, warned that it was difficult to find suitable acquisition opportunities. During the first half to June three large properties were bought for a total of pounds 75m.

Profits rose 16 per cent to pounds 33.3m, mainly the result of a 7.6 per cent increase in rental income. This was boosted by a 93.4 per cent occupancy level, compared with 92.2 per cent six months earlier.

In Australia, the vacancy rate was reduced but remained stubbornly high at 17.5 per cent. A total of 615,000 sq ft of offices and industrial space in Melbourne and Sydney have been sold.

The dividend, reduced in 1992 in the middle of the property slump, was maintained at 3.1p. Analysts forecast net assets of 295p per share at the year-end, against 269p six months ago.

Slough, which has acquired the 51 per cent of Bredero Estates it did not own, confirmed yesterday that it intends to develop Bredero's remaining sites in Glasgow and Hammersmith, west London.