Liberty InternationalÂ´s preliminary announcement of its 2004 results were released yesterday. The financial highlights include: Investment properties (including share of joint ventures) at market values increase of 12.0% to Â£5,341m (2003: Â£4,768m), operating profit (including share of joint ventures)increase of 3.9% to Â£245.2m (2003: Â£235.9m), profit before tax including exceptional items increase of 43.9% to Â£158.3m (2003: Â£110.0m), profit before tax and exceptionals increase of 11.0% to Â£115.7m (2003:Â£104.2m ).
Donald Gordon, Chairman of Liberty International, commented: â2004 ranks as one of Liberty InternationalÂ´s most active and successful years since its incorporation 25 years ago in 1980, with strong financial results and the completion of a record number of important projects and transactions which have considerably enhanced the positive momentum of the business. We have developed a powerful market position in the UK regional shopping centre industry and are determined to extend our excellent track record of growth. I am highly confident in Liberty InternationalÂ´s exceptional long-term prospects given the quality of its people, its ongoing leadership, its irreplaceable physical assets and the exciting prospects and challenges of our chosen industry in which Liberty International is the prime player in the UK. It is also extremely gratifying that both the London and Johannesburg stock markets have reacted positively to the companyâs momentum by recording the highest overall yearly improvement of our share price since our incorporation in 1980.â
Acquisitions and additions
A total of Â£221 million of investment property acquisitions over 2004 include:
- Eldon Square, Newcastle (interest increased from 30% to 45%) Â£45 m
- Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent (interest increased from 50% to 100%) Â£128 m
- Plaza Escuela and others, USA Â£48 m
Aggregate investment property additions, including development expenditure, amounted to Â£321 million in 2004.
- Â£30 million Lakeside, Thurrock, refurbishment and enhancement completed in July 2004 on time and to budget with beneficial impact on trading
- Â£85 million MetroCentre, Gateshead, Red Mall extension opened fully let in October 2004, restoring MetroCentre as Europeâs largest covered shopping centre at 1.8 million sq.ft.
- 510,000 sq.ft. Chapelfield, Norwich, development scheduled for Autumn 2005 opening with lettings agreed or solicitors instructed for 82 per cent of anticipated income. Project cost to CSC excluding residential element estimated at Â£260 million (of which Â£219 million remains to be paid)
- Aggregate development programme of Â£1.3 billion, of which Â£350 million is committed, divided between regional shopping centres (Â£1,150 million) and other retail and commercial (Â£150 million)
- The programme includes major new regional shopping centre developments in Norwich, Cardiff and Oxford, together with Braehead (Phase 2) and substantial extensions to and additional investment in Eldon Square, Newcastle; The Harlequin, Watford, and other existing centres
- Other retail and commercial development programme includes Kingâs Reach, Southwark, and 190 Strand, London
Source: Liberty International