Slough shares slump as dividend treads water

The share price of Slough Estates, the industrial property developer, fell another 10p yesterday to 220p on the back of results that were lower than City expectations. The shares had declined 7p on Wednesday.

For the year to the end of December 1994, profit before tax was £64m, Slough announced. It was an increase of 20 per cent on 1993, but lower than the £66m expected by City analysts.

Net assets per share were 276p at the year-end compared with 269p in the previous year, but below City forecasts, which ranged from 278p to 305p per share.

The company had started the year with high hopes of a recovery in property values, increases in occupancy levels and higher rental rates.

None of these predictions were realised.

Instead, interest rate increases during the year held down property values and uncertain business confidence pegged back demand for business accommodation, keeping down rents.

Sir Nigel Mobbs, the company's chairman and chief executive, said yesterday: "We are disappointed with how the year finished in comparison to how the year set out. Values were in the ascendancy at the start of the year, but interest rates went up and so values fell back."

Sir Nigel said City disappointment was in part due to analysts being slow to spot the slowdown, though it could be seen in the published indices of property values.

He said the company was optimistic about the future: "The overhang of space is being absorbed, particularly good space.

"There is even the potential for shortages in some areas including around the M25 and in the West Midlands. Business confidence should also pick up."

John Atkins, a property analyst with UBS, said: "The figures are disappointing in both revenue and capital terms."

Mr Atkins is predicting profit before tax for the current year of £65m, only slightly up on 1994.

He said: "The problem with this company is it is hard to see where growth is gong to come from. We don't think they will be able to increase the dividend before 1999."

He added: "We have got them as a `sell'."

The company lowered its dividend 30 per cent in 1992 from 11.52p to 8.1p, and it has remained at that level.

The scope to raise the dividend is limited by the company's desire to improve dividend cover to one and a half times earnings.

At the moment, earnings are 9.1p per share, up from 7p last year.

Sir Nigel said: "We would like to see the dividend rise but we will have to assess the make-up of and quality of earnings before that happens. A lot depends on the outcome of 1995."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'