Meadowhall owner British Land says it has the cash to see it through
British Land has said it has a strong cash position to face the coronavirus crisis, and announced a three-month rent holiday for small retail, food and leisure tenants.
The company owns or manages leading retail destinations including Meadowhall in Sheffield, Drake Circus in Plymouth and the new Broadgate development next to Liverpool Street station in London.
With the exception of Valentine in Lincoln, all retail centres in its portfolio remain open to provide access to essential stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies. About 12% of the total number of individual units are currently open.
As part of efforts to support tenants that are being hardest hit, British Land has offered to release smaller retail, food & beverage and leisure customers from their rental obligations for three months. For other tenants experiencing financial challenges because of Covid-19, the company will defer the March quarter day rents and spread repayment over the six quarters from September 2020. These actions could have a financial impact of £40m.
But British Land insisted it has a “strong and robust financial footing’, with cash reserves of £1.2 billion, undrawn facilities and no requirements to refinance until 2024.
In light of the uncertainty, all future dividend payments have been suspended with immediate effect, including the third quarter dividend due for payment in May. Underlying earnings for the year ending 31 March are expected to be ‘broadly in line’ with previous expectations.
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