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Circle on a roll with 11% growth in portfolio value

By Paul Norman - Wednesday, October 04, 2017 8:04

Circle Property, the specialist UK regional office investment, development and management company, said that following a 20% increase in the value of its portfolio in the year to 31 March 2017, it has added significant value with its latest independent valuation showing an 11.3% increase in the value of its portfolio to £103.5m.

In an update on trading ahead of its results for the six months ended 30 September 2017, Circle said this represents an uplift of 40% since it was admitted to AIM in February 2016, when the portfolio was valued at £73.9m. This increase has taken NAV per share to more than £2, and has been achieved through the company’s ongoing asset management programme.

It highlighted:

• Having secured planning permission for a change of use on the ground floor of Somerset House, Temple Street in Birmingham’s CBD from offices into two higher value A3 restaurants in the first half of the year, Circle has agreed a 20 year lease with the popular Latin American restaurant, Las Iguanas, at a rent of £220,000 per annum. Momentum at this asset continues, with the refurbishment of the upper office floors nearing completion and terms agreed for a lease on the second ground floor restaurant unit.

• The remaining refurbished space at Powerhouse in Milton Keynes has been let to Steven Eagell Limited for 10 years at a rent of £106,256 per annum, equating to £16 psf, vs a previous rent of £14.88 psf.

• The Company has entered into an agreement with Topps Tiles for a new 10 year lease with a five year break option on 4,700 sq. ft. at the 37,200 sq. ft. Baildon Bridge at an initial rent of £52,585 pa, vs a previous rent of £35,550 pa. This brings retail occupancy at the park to 91%, with the one vacant unit remaining under negotiation.

• At Elizabeth House London Road Staines-upon-Thames, Circle has renewed a lease to Rina Consulting Ltd for a five year term, and achieved a new headline rent of £20 psf, significantly above the average passing rent of £14.50 psf.

• At 300 Pavilion Drive in Northampton, Circle has negotiated the removal of the break clause in Grant Thornton’s three leases of the first and second floors, and accepted its surrender of a small part of the ground floor. Circle is now undertaking a refurbishment of the resulting 2,373 sq ft of vacant space as well as the rest of the ground floor, with interest already received from a number of parties at an enhanced rent.

In addition, Circle is making significant progress in the letting of Kents Hill Business Park in Milton Keynes. Following the strategic decision to divide the remaining space into smaller units, the majority of the ground floor is now under offer to two tenants with good interest in the entire first floor from a single occupier

John Arnold, CEO of Circle Property plc, said: “This most recent valuation increase is an important milestone for Circle as it brings our portfolio value up 40% since IPO, with NAV per share above the £2 mark for the first time. To have achieved such a significant increase in valuations through active asset management, rather than through acquisitions or yield compression, is another strong endorsement of the ability of our team to unlock the value inherent in our portfolio of regional UK properties.

“Occupancy remains high throughout our investment portfolio, and, whilst uncertainty continues to surround prime London offices, we continue to see both value and occupier interest in the regional market. With a number of new tenants and lease renewals, our development portfolio continues to perform well, despite a slightly more challenging letting market, and we are in advanced talks with a number of occupiers for vacant space throughout the portfolio. In addition to the good progress made across our investment and development pipeline, we remain aware of and are actively considering opportunities to grow our portfolio value through acquisitions. ”

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