The pandemic has wiped almost £1bn off commercial landlord British Land’s portfolio, with retail worst affected due to administrations and CVAs.

The retail division, which includes hospitality venues, was down in value by 14.9%, according to a half year report.

During the period, the institutional landlord said a further 16 occupiers entered CVA or administrations, accounting for 80 units.

Of these, 13 units have closed, 62 have seen reduced rents and five were unaffected, overall resulting in a £11.6m reduction in annualised rents.

Occupancy across its retail portfolio remains high at 95%, with leasing activity is “understandably subdued”

British Land said it was taking a “pragmatic and proactive” approach to maximise occupancy and rent collection, agreeing appropriate leasing structures, with potential elements of turnover-linked rent.

The landlord reported a near 30% drop in underlying profit to £107m for the six months to 30 September, while losses after tax grew to £730m from £404m a year earlier.

It collected 62% of rent from retail tenants.

The results were posted as CEO Chris Grigg steps down and Simon Carter takes over the top job.

Grigg said the business was “financially resilient” with an “unrivalled pipeline of opportunities”

Carter meanwhile predicted a return to offices, city centres and retail hubs.

He said: “Many of our customers have seen that their people can work more flexibly, but they are clear that great office space, such as we deliver at our mixed use campuses, will continue to play a crucial role in their success, by promoting innovation, collaboration, training and culture…

“There is a clear preference from shoppers and retailers for out of town, open air retail parks. Our approach and attractive asset mix means that prior to the November lockdown, we were delivering significant outperformance on footfall and retailer sales and a steady improvement in rent collection levels.”

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