Blackrock upbeat on H1 as prices stabilise
Property investment group Blackrock International Land has said that it expected an improvement in its operating income during the first six months of the current financial year as the value of its investment portfolio stabilises.
However, the listed vehicle, which was spun off from fruit importer Fyffes, also indicated in a statement released yesterday to coincide with its annual general meeting that its net asset value per share was likely to have fallen by more than 10pc since its financial year ended last December.
Blackrock owns assets in Ireland, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. It has been hit badly by the collapse in property markets. In its last financial year, it reported a loss of over €105m compared to a near €79m loss in the previous fiscal year. Fyffes retains a 40pc stake in the company.
Blackrock said yesterday that the rate of decline in property valuations "slowed dramatically" in the first half of this year. The value of its property assets had fallen over 28pc to €244m at the end of 2009 compared with the end of 2008. Among its assets is a stake in the new Navan Retail Park, which opened last year, and an interest in 247 acres of land outside Dublin.
The company recently sold an office building in Milton Keynes in the UK for over €3.8m, which was significantly higher than the valuation put on it at the end of last December. It sold a 3,700sqm industrial facility at the Xerox complex in Dundalk, Co Louth, to drug company Galen, a subsidiary of Warner Chilcott, for €2.9m.
In its statement, Blackrock said "good progress" continued to be made in relation to several of the group's development properties, notably in Scotland and that it continued to be engaged in "positive" discussions with its principal banker, Allied Irish Banks, on its loan facilities.
AIB has proposed new facilities to Blackrock providing for an extended term and a relaxation of the loan-to-value covenant in exchange for a higher margin and the provision of security over a proportion of relevant assets.