London-focused developer Minerva said today that its net asset value rose 6.2% to 140p a share in the first half of its financial year, driven by a rise in the value of its assets and the effect of leverage.

The company, which is currently in takeover talks with unnamed parties, said that the value of its investment properties – which include the Walbrook Building and St Botolph’s in the City - rose 2.8% in the six months to 31 December to £761m.

Its trading properties, the near-completed Lancasters residential scheme in Bayswater and the Odeon residential development site in Kensington rose 3.8% to £446m, but these assets are held on Minerva’s books at cost so did not affect the NAV.

The rise in values gave a boost to the company’s NAV due to the effect of gearing – Minerva’s net debt rose by £54m to £859m during the period, as the company drew down facilities in order to undertake developments. The company’s cash reduced from £55m to £42m.

The company said it had begun negotiations on extending debt facilities totalling £131m which expire in the second half of this year, secured against the Ram Brewery development site in Wandsworth, the Odeon development and the Allders department store in Croydon. It said that it thought its existing lender was likely to extend these facilities.

There were no new lettings at the two City buildings during the building, but Minerva said that it was in talks for potential tenants at both the Walbrook Building and St Botolphs.

At Croydon, it said it was exploring the possibility of splitting the Allders store into separate retail units, while keeping a department store element.

Minerva chairman Oliver Whitehead said: “The dynamics in the City and prime residential markets in London continue to give us confidence that Minerva is well placed with its high quality developments and investments.  We remain encouraged by the prospect of rental growth in the City of London and shortage of supply in this and the high-end residential markets and believe that Minerva should be a key beneficiary of that growth.

“With the Lancaster Gate scheme scheduled to complete this calendar year and our new City offices being marketed in an environment of limited supply, we are focused on crystallising value from these high-class schemes and advancing our development sites.”