Profit up 14% and so too is the value of the developer’s properties

Property developer Land Securities will push on with speculative office developments in London, it said as it published its annual results today.

Land Secs – which began construction of its £500m Walkie Talkie tower in joint venture with Canary Wharf Group earlier this year – said it will push forward with speculative schemes to meet an expected jump in demand for commercial space in London.

The developer also reported pretax profit was up 14% to £1.23bn for the year ending 31 March 2011.

The value of its property portfolio also rose, up 9.7% for the year to £10.6bn.

The company also said its rental values were up 4.7% across its portfolio and that unlet floorspace had fallen to 4.3%.

“Consistent with our view last year, we expect the strongest rental value growth to occur for London offices and we continue to believe that the best way to capture this is by undertaking speculative development projects in the best locations in London,” Land Secs said.

“This will play to our strengths, and we will continue to enhance returns from our development activity in London with residential development where appropriate,” the company said.

Land Secs also said it would continue to refine the composition of its retail portfolio through new development, where we can achieve significant pre-lettings, and through selective purchases and sales.”

Chief executive Francis Salway said: “We remain of the view that our markets are in recovery mode and we see particularly strong growth prospects in London over the next few years.

“We may continue to see ripples in (commercial property) prices, but we go into the new financial year confident in our plans and well positioned to address growth opportunities.”

Land Secs recommended lifting its final dividend to 7.2 pence, from 7 pence a year earlier.