Liberty International’s portfolio remained robust in the face of the market downturn it revealed today.

Despite a 7.7% drop in net asset value in the fourth quarter to 1264p a share, the company, which has a core portfolio made up of prime UK regional shopping centres, outperformed the Investment Property Databank retail Benchmark and peers such as British Land.

For the full year, the company saw its net asset value fall 5% to 1264p a share, with a fall of 7.7% in the fourth quarter.

The underlying cause was a 25 basis point upward yield movement in the value of its portfolio, which is now worth £8.6bn.

Fourth quarter drop

This occurred entirely in the fourth quarter, with the biggest drop in value occurring in the UK regional shopping centre portfolio, which fell 5.6% in value in the fourth quarter to £6.5bn.

Liberty’s share price fell 0.75% to 1000p this morning, in line with the FTSE 100.

Liberty’s best performing property was the Victoria Centre in Nottingham, the only UK regional shopping centre to increase in value, which showed a 0.8% lift.

Its three largest centres, Lakeside in Thurrock, the MetroCentre in Gateshead and Braehead in Glasgow, all outperformed British Land’s Meadowhall in Sheffield, which fell 5.3%, dropping 4.4%, 4.2% and 2.1% respectively.

Collecting the rent

Chief executive David Fischel said that the company was well positioned even if the consumer economy slowed down. ‘If you look at our centres they more than 97% full and have proved resilient in terms of income and value,’ he said.

‘We’re not a retailer and we collect rent, even if times are tougher.’

The company’s US portfolio, the asset in which is the Serramonte shopping centre in the San Francisco Bay area, increased in value by 6.5% to £381m.

Fischel said it was to early to tell how values will fare in 2008, but that evidence suggested that capital values had fallen again since December.