StockMarketWire.com - British Land said its half-yearly profit fell as the value of its portfolio dropped amid weakness in retail markets.

For the six months ended 30 September, underlying pre-tax profit fell to £158m from £175m on-year, and earnings -- stated as EPRA net asset value per share -- fell 5.4% to 856p.

The company's portfolio value was down 4.3%, led by an 8.4% slump in retail offsetting 0.4% growth in the offices segment and 4.9% growth in the development segment.

'Retail investment markets remained challenging, with volumes low, reflecting negative sentiment and a number of sellers are under pressure, encouraging more opportunistic pricing,' British Land said.

The company declared a full-year dividend of 15.97p, up 3.0% on-year.

'Looking forward, we expect our markets to remain uneven, but we have kept debt levels low, our balance sheet is strong and flexible and we have a broad spread of expertise across our business,' chief executive Chris Grigg said.

'We expect retail to remain challenging, so we'll focus on driving operational performance and maintaining occupancy.'

'In London, we expect the market to remain good, with supply relatively constrained and high quality space, in well-connected, vibrant parts of town continuing to attract demand from a range of businesses.'

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