Slough Estates chief executive Ian Coull today boasted that his company ‘entered 2006 in good shape and left it in even better shape’

The comments were made as the UK’s largest flexible business space provider reported solid final results for the year to 31 December, which showed a robust 14% increase in adjusted NAV to 775p and pretax profits of £142.7m – up 19% on last year.

The value of Slough’s portfolio climbed 11% to exceed £6bn in the last 12 months. Its UK industrial assets delivered an 11.5% return, outperforming the Investment Property Databank sector Benchmark by 20 basis points.

In recognition that yield shift had already begun to slow in the industrial sector, Coull pointed to the company’s £3bn development pipeline as a ‘key driver’ for future returns and said Slough would draw on the ‘quality of its core property skills’ to drive growth in the coming year.

He said: We have consolidated on the strengthened position of recent years. In 2006 we recycled capital, completed the latest phase of the development programme and implemented our asset management strategy - successfully driving gross property rental income up by £10m.

‘We achieved overall rental growth of 3.7% on rent reviews, ahead of the IPD industrial figure of 1.4%.’

The performance of Slough’s international business was described by Coull as ‘outstanding’. The team achieved 1.8m sq ft (169,000 sq m) of lettings in its core European markets of northern Paris, Dusseldorf, Brussels and Amsterdam last year and also moved into two new markets: Italy and Spain through a £70m sale-and-leaseback deal with Antalis.