Property developer reveals 66% of its portfolio is based in the capital

Helical, the London-centric property developer, has spoken of its ambitions to ramp up activity both in the capital and its operation in Manchester, selling off non-core assets and using funds to target further growth.

Speaking as the group announced its results for 2016/17, chief executive Gerald Kaye said Helical had actively sought to add to its development pipeline with new schemes, particularly in London.

“Rebalancing the portfolio through the sale of non-core assets enables us to recycle some of the value we have created in recent years and fully pursue those opportunities that we have identified,” he added.

Kaye said that during the year Helical had sought to recycle some of the capital created between 2012 and 2016 into the schemes which would be growth-enhancing.

“We have narrowed the focus of the company to London, offices in Manchester and a portfolio of logistics units. We expect to complete this process during the current year with the sale of the remaining non-core assets, being the retail properties and regional offices outside of Manchester, whilst continuing to work through the retirement village programme.”

Helical had increased the weighting of its assets in London during the year to 31 March 2017 to 63% of the total portfolio. Sales of regional assets since the year end have increased this figure to 66%.

Kaye went on: “Our London portfolio remains reversionary with further value to be created through the completion of our redevelopment and refurbishment programme, letting vacant space and upcoming rent reviews.

“We believe that London will continue to outperform the rest of the UK over the medium and long term and our strategy is to continue to increase our London holdings.”

Helical today reported profit before tax for the year to 31 March 2017 of £41.6m, versus £114m a year ago.

Total property return reduced to £79.9m (2016: £164.6m) and included growing net rents of £47m, up 8.3% year-on-year, and development losses of £5.7m (2016: £27.5m) after deducting provisions of £12.8m (2016: £6.4m).

The gain on sale and revaluation of the investment portfolio contributed £38.6m (2016: £93.7m).