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Great Portland decision on final dividend to be made in May

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 03 Apr 2020

Great Portland decision on final dividend to be made in May

(Sharecast News) - Great Portland Estates said on Friday that it remains in a strong financial position, that it has collected 63% of its March rent and that a decision on the final dividend will be made once the year end results are finalised in May.
The company, which has temporarily suspended activity on two of its three development sites, said it was supporting its occupiers by agreeing on a case-by-case basis the payment of monthly rents or deferring rental payments.

In addition, it is keeping up with its regular payments to suppliers to ensure their cash flow is maintained "given the challenging economic backdrop".

Great Portland said it has collected 62.9% of quarterly rent due within seven working days of the March quarter day, with a further 4.5% expected imminently. More than 60% of the outstanding rent is from occupiers in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, it said.

The company insisted it was in a "strong" financial position, with a loan-to-value of 14.1% and total liquidity of ?411m.

In line with its normal convention, Great Portland said a decision about payment of a final dividend will be made once the year end results are finalised in May.

Chief executive Toby Courtauld said: "Despite these unprecedented conditions, the GPE team is pulling together well, focussing on our top priorities of the safety and wellbeing of our occupiers, suppliers and employees and ensuring that our portfolio is as prepared as can be for a potentially prolonged period of lockdown.

"However long the coronavirus lasts, with our low gearing and ample liquidity, GPE is well positioned to weather the impact until market conditions normalise. In the meantime, unsurprisingly, we expect leasing activity to decline until the crisis passes, particularly in retail, although it is pleasing that a number of our office pre-letting negotiations are ongoing and we continue to receive new enquiries from prospective occupiers."

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