Minerva, the property developer, saw almost a fifth wiped off the value of its shares yesterday after a broker downgrade added fresh uncertainty to the future of its development pipeline.

The company’s share price fell to 9?p at close, down 18.8% on the day and almost 95% over 12 months, taking its market capitalisation to just £19m.

At its last set of results, the company said its property portfolio had been valued in the summer at about £886m, which makes this most recent drop in its share price appear even starker.

Adjusted shareholders’ equity, incorporating the group’s share of the valuation surplus on trading properties, was £372.2m at June 30 2008, while the company held cash reserves of £117.4m against debt of £526.6m. Based on a last stated net asset value of 188p in September, the company is trading at a discount of about 95 per cent.

Minerva is due to post a trading update today but the statement is not expected to go beyond reaffirming its resilience in the face of adverse market conditions. The company declined to comment yesterday.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph