Songbird Estates, the majority owner of Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands, has seen its net asset value drop by more than a fifth owing to a £548m loss in the value of its property in the past six months.

Songbird’s property portfolio fell 9.6% to £6.7bn in the six months to June 30 with a 9.2% drop in the value of its investment portfolio to £5.6bn.

Net assets fell 21% to £1.85bn as a result of this fall, magnified by its level of gearing. The revaluation pushed it to a pre-tax loss of £469.9m, from a profit of £466.4m last time. Losses per share were 54p, against earnings per share of 47.1p last year. Canary Wharf Group declared a dividend of 16p.

The company said it was still not clear about the impact of the Lehman Brothers collapse on the estate, where the bank occupied 850,000 sq ft. There exists a rental guarantee for four years from AIG.

Financial Times, The time4s, Daily Telegraph