Slough Estates plc said it expects to see improving demand for its core business space product in the coming months, as it announced a rise in pre-tax profits and NAV in the six months to 30 June 2004.
The property group said pretax profits rose to 76.2 mln stg in the first six months, compared with 71.8 mln stg in the same period of last year.
Diluted Net Asset Value per share was 5.3 pct higher at 532 pence and the interim dividend rose to 6.15 pence from 5.8 pence.
Slough said that it is now ready to start developments on its strategic landbanks -- as signalled at the beginning of the year -- thanks to a strengthening in the market, with key economic indicators showing encouraging levels of growth and an increasing number of enquiries.
'We are encouraged by the continued resilience of the flexible business space market, which has protected us from the worst of the downturn, and highlight in particular the strong contribution of the Californian portfolio, which has been so successful in supplying generic laboratory space to the health science sector,' the group said in a statement.
'In order to meet this growing demand in 2005 and beyond, we will start a number of development projects in the second half of the year,' chairman, Sir Nigel Mobbs said.
'We believe the long term outlook for the business space market remains good and our increasing focus on this market segment puts the company in a strong position to develop our extensive strategic landbank with a broad range of core products.'