- Commercial real estate investor Palace Capital swung to a full-year loss, owing partly to charges for rent arrears and a decline in the market value of its property portfolio.

Still, the company upped its final-quarter dividend by 20% to 3p per share, bringing the annual payout to 10.5p.

Pre-tax losses for the year through March amounted to £5.5 million, compared to a year-on-year loss of £5.4 million.

Adjusted pre-tax profit of £7.5 million fell from £8.0 million and included a £0.9m provision for potential rent and service charge arrears.

Some of those arrears were expected to be recovered as restrictions continued to ease, Palace Capital said.

EPRA earnings per share fell 15.7p, down from 23.4p.

Palace Capital said its dividend was cash-covered 'at a sustainable level', with 3p expected to be the minimum level paid each quarter for the year ending 31 March 2022.

'In what has been one of the most challenging years in my career, we have weathered the storm and the signs are positive for the future of the group,' chief executive Neil Sinclair said.

'Despite our financial year coinciding entirely with the pandemic, we have seen good activity across the portfolio with strong rent collection, the completion of Hudson Quarter and positive lettings activity despite government restrictions.'

'As a result, we are in fine shape and, with the positive progress being made in our disposals programme, are well positioned to recycle our capital into attractively priced, accretive investment opportunities, which we believe will emerge in the coming months.'

'This has given us the required confidence to increase the quarterly dividend by 20% to 3.0p.'

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