Brixton’s net asset value fell nearly 47% in its full year results as it scrapped its final dividend and failed to announce a widely-expected equity raising.
The industrial REIT, which two weeks ago removed Tim Wheeler as its chief executive, said it would scrap its final year dividend and continue to explore financing options to shore up its balance sheet.
However, it did not announce an equity raising but stressed it remained in compliance with its banking covenants.
Its full year results announced this morning it also showed a pre-tax loss of £758.8m and a £673.4m writedown on its property portfolio.
Brixton said its net assets had tumbled 47% from 1.4bn to 787m last year – equating to a net asset value of 290p a share. As a result, it said it would not be paying a final dividend other than the interim dividend already paid of 4.9p a share.
The value of its property portfolio fell 27.2% from £2.2bn to £1.6bn. It said that this represented a 33.4% fall since the market peak in June 2007.
Its gearing increased from 55% in 2007 to 110% last year and while it remained compliant with its loan covenants, it said: ‘our balance sheet covenants of asset cover ratio and gearing are likely to come under pressure’.
The REIT had widely been expected to follow the example of its rival Segro which announced a £501m rights issue two weeks ago.
Newly installed chief executive Peter Dawson said that it was still exploring ‘all options to strengthen the balance sheet and provide additional financial flexibility including debt renegotiations and an equity raising’.
The company saw a 6.8% rise in net rental income to £77.4m, however its vacancy rate increase to from 15.4% to 17.3% – though this was down from 18.7% in June.
The annualised loss of rent in 2008 was £4.2m or 4% of the rent roll, of which half related to Entertainment UK, a subsidiary of Woolworths.
The vacancy rate led to a £3.8m empty rates bill which it said was the biggest factor in reducing its underlying profit by £4.1m to £42.5m.
Its share price, which has fallen nearly 90% this year, increased 3p from 15p on Friday to 18p this morning in early trading.