Helical Bar, in its results for the year to 31 March, revealed a NAV fall to 352p per share, from 374p in 2007.

It had a pretax loss of £24.3m, that it said was due to a loss on the sale and revaluation of its investment properties of £32.8m and a reduction in development profits to £6.1m. Last year it posted a profit of £60.1m.

Mike Slade, chief executive, said: ‘Helical anticipated the rise in yields by greatly reducing the proportion of its assets held in the investment portfolio and by diversifying its exposure into a broader spread of activities.

‘This approach has delivered an unleveraged return of 7% above Benchmark returns as measured by IPD despite our valuation yields rising 90 basis points, in line with the market.

Re-enter market in 2009-2010

‘With threats come opportunity and Helical has put together many of its best deals in difficult markets.

'We need to remain patient whilst the major adjustment in prices is unfolding. However, we expect to re-enter the market during 2009 and 2010 and rebuild our investment portfolio at prices that will serve us well during the next upswing in the property cycle.’

Giles Weaver, chairman, added: ‘The next 12 months will be a difficult time for the sector and there may well be further setbacks to the economy during that time. However, I am confident that we have the skills, financial resources and diversity of projects to take advantage of whatever opportunities the future brings.’