Workspace Group reported an increase in enquiries and lettings for the fourth quarter of 2019 despite the increased political uncertainty leading up to the general election.
The company had 1,001 enquiries per month in the three months to the end of December (up from 907 in 2018) and made 113 lettings per month (2018: 98) in what is seasonally its quietest quarter of the year.
Workspace also exchanged contracts to sell one property in the quarter – Quality Court, off Chancery Lane in Holborn, for £15.8m, at a 3% premium to the 30 September 2019 valuation and a net initial yield of 4.3%.
Graham Clemett, chief executive of Workspace Group, said: “This was a very encouraging third quarter for the company. Despite the uncertainty around the general election and the usual seasonal impact, enquiries and lettings were strong. Customer demand in the first few weeks of the new year suggest that increased political certainty following the election result has buoyed business confidence.
“Our completed projects are letting up well with a robust pipeline of project activity. We continue to monitor acquisition opportunities while remaining disciplined in our return criteria. We look forward to delivering continued progress for the full year in line with expectations.”
WKP : Workspace reports increase in enquiries and lettings
The group said it expects to open its new 55,000 sq ft business centre, Mare Street Studios in Hackney, in March 2020. A further four refurbishments and four redevelopments are underway which will deliver 254,000 sq ft of new and upgraded space.
Net debt reduced by £46m in the quarter to £551m, with cash balances and undrawn facilities of £157m as at 31 December 2019.
The pro-forma loan to value (LTV) based on the 30 September 2019 property valuation is 21% (30 September 2019: 22%).
On 16 December 2019 the company announced that Daniel Kitchen will be stepping down from the board at the 2020 Annual General Meeting, after nine years in the role as chairman of Workspace. An externally supported search process, led by senior independent director, Chris Girling, is underway to appoint his successor.