Slough shares slump as dividend treads water
Friday 24 March 1995
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."
- 1 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 2 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 MH370 search: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
- 5 'Killer robots' with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Israel accused of killing 75 children during day of 'carnage' and war crimes in Gaza war
Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
MH370 search: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall
iJobs Money & Business
£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...
£12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...
£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...