- London West End real estate investor Shaftesbury swung to a full-year loss after the pandemic hit rental income and prompted a steep downward revaluation of its property portfolio.

Net losses for the year through September amounted to £699.5 million, compared to a profit of £26.0 million year-on-year.

Net property income dropped 24% to £74.3 million owing to a 3.5% like-for-like decrease in rental income and charges for expected credit losses and impairments of £21.9 million.

Shaftesbury did not declare any dividends for the year, in line with previous guidance.

Looking forward, the company said it expected Covid-19 control measures to likely be in place for much of 2021, though with the impact reducing as conditions improved.

'Rarely in history has the world seen such widespread disruption to normal patterns of life,' chief executive Brian Bickell said.

'Only now are we seeing the first positive signs that conditions will begin to improve in the year ahead.'

Bickell said the pandemic had hit Shaftesbury particularly hard in its second half by depriving hospitality and retail occupiers of footfall and trade, resulting in reduced rent collections and increased vacancy.

'The economies of London and the West End have a long history of structural resilience, having weathered many episodes of challenge and uncertainty,' he said.

'Their unique features, which come from a culture of constant evolution across a broad-based economy, attracting talent, creativity, innovation and investment from across the world, will hasten their recovery and reinforce their enduring appeal to businesses, visitors and residents alike.'

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