Developer's profit increases to £699m as it predicts substantial increase in rental income.

Hammerson has recorded a two-thirds increase in profits in full-year results reported this morning.

The developer posted pre-tax profit of £698.6m, up 69% from the 2004 figure of £413.4m.

It put much of the growth down to development surpluses of £157m at its Bishops Square scheme in London and £75m at two retail park developments, Cyfarthfa in Merthyr Tydfil and St Oswald's in Gloucester.

Rental income grew 11% to £210.3m, although Hammerson predicted a major acceleration in that growth.

John Nelson, chairman, said: "Over the next three years, the group's rental income will increase substantially, principally as a result of new contracted income from completed developments.

"The group has a high quality investment property portfolio and an outstanding development programme and pipeline. We anticipate good growth in the company's rental income over the next three years, providing the potential for continuing dividend increases."