Great Portland Estates said on Friday that it has collected only 63% of quarterly rent, compared to 99% at the same time a year ago.
Over 60% of the outstanding rent is from occupiers in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, the company said.
‘Despite these unprecedented conditions, the GPE team is pulling together well, focussing on our top priorities of the safety and wellbeing of our occupiers, suppliers and employees and ensuring that our portfolio is as prepared as can be for a potentially prolonged period of lockdown,’ said CEO Toby Courtauld.’ However long the Coronavirus lasts, with our low gearing and ample liquidity, GPE is well positioned to weather the impact until market conditions normalise.’
GPE said that it is supporting its occupiers, particularly in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, through agreeing on a case by case basis the payment of monthly rents or deferring rental payments.
‘We recognise that the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, 33% of our portfolio by rent roll (including office occupiers), have been hardest hit by the economic impact of restrictions on movement. Accordingly, we are in discussions with our retail occupiers who are facing cash flow difficulties to offer monthly payment terms,’ GPE said. Furthermore, the group’s smaller independent occupiers have been offered a three-month rent deferral while larger occupiers are being assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The group is also maintaining its regular payments to suppliers to ensure their cash flow is maintained given the challenging economic backdrop. GPE is in a robust financial position, with LTV1 of 14.1%, net gearing of 14.7% and total liquidity of £411 mln at 31 March 2020.
Development activity has largely been suspended, GPE added, as contractors consider how they can continue to work within Government guidelines. ‘At this stage, it is too early to determine how the current situation will adversely impact expected practical completion dates,’ it noted.