Capital & Regional PLC (LON:CAL) has reported a sharp decline in profits in its first half as lockdown restrictions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit customer footfall at its shopping centres, causing a knock-on effect for its rental income.
For the six months ended June 30, 2020, the community shopping centre owner reported an adjusted profit of £4.6mln, down from £14.8mln a year ago, while net rental incomes fell to £16.2mln from £25.2mln.
The company said the decline in rents was “largely as a result” of the pandemic, adding that it had only collected 76% of rent in respect to its first half while collections for the third quarter are currently running at 54%.
Net asset value also took a hit for the six month period, falling to 229p per share from 514p a year ago.
Looking ahead, the group said it had decided not to declare an interim dividend in light of “the current level of uncertainty” and a desire to maximise its cash flexibility, however, it said its £65mln cash balance and agreements with its lenders meant it had a “sound base for navigating the short and medium term”.
“While all of our centres have remained open throughout the pandemic, the government enforced restrictions have naturally impacted on the group’s operations. However our local community strategy, focused on providing non-discretionary, essential goods and services, has helped mitigate the impact on a relative basis. Indeed, our strategy is now more relevant than ever as the structural changes in consumer habits that were already underway within the retail industry have been accelerated”, Capital & Regional’s chief executive Lawrence Hutchings said in a statement.
“During this time we have also been able to progress important initiatives, including the submission of a planning application to convert our existing residential consent at Walthamstow into Build to Rent which will facilitate the introduction of a development partner. We have also advanced discussions with the NHS for the introduction of a significant new healthcare centre at Ilford. These are important steps forward as we continue to maximise the mixed and evolving uses of our key locations”, the CEO added.