MWB losses hit £63m

Marylebone Warwick Balfour has reported a pretax loss of £63m for the year ending June 2003, as announced yesterday. Meanwhile, the company’s net asset value dropped 10% to 93p per share. MWB’s three main divisions â€" serviced offices, hotels and department stores â€" all lost money. However, losses had narrowed since 2002, when the company reported a £109.5m deficit.

MWB said that the results reflected the losses incurred by the now closed European arm of the serviced office division, Business Exchange, alongside the costs of terminating its leases.

Business Exchange incurred £47.3m of exceptional property write-downs and provisions, resulting from the cost of restructuring the business culminating in the closure of its European arm in July. The division made a total pretax loss of £58.4m.

The department store group, Liberty, which is owned by MWB, reported a pretax loss of £4.8m. Liberty was valued at £54.5m, down £2.5m on last year. MWB attributed the loss to a decline in consumer spending and tourist numbers.

MWB’s hotel group, Malmaison, reported a £10.5m pretax loss as a result of the group buying out Radisson’s management contract and 50% interest in the brand. However, the value of the chain increased by 40% to £91.8m.

Brian Myerson, MSB Chairman, commented: “During the year, with all the prevailing political and economic uncertainties, we have been able to restructure the group’s operations and finances, enabling it to look forward with some degree of optimism from a solid asset base.”

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