How Leeds property developer Town Centre Securities has been impacted by Covid

Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of TCS, says the past six months have been "critical in the resetting and reinvigorating of the business".Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of TCS, says the past six months have been "critical in the resetting and reinvigorating of the business".
Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of TCS, says the past six months have been "critical in the resetting and reinvigorating of the business".
Property developer Town Centre Securities (TCS) announced earnings before tax of £200,000 for the six months ended December 31, 2020, down from £4.1m the previous year, as it took an estimated hit of £3.2m from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Leeds-based property developer reported a statutory pre-tax loss of £3.5m. But the firm said like-for-like portfolio valuation was resilient and down only 0.8 per cent from June 2020.

The brunt of the £3.2m impact came from car parking business CitiPark. It took a £2.3m hit due to lost car parking income and fixed costs.

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While TCS took an impact of £500,000 in the property business, primarily from bad debt, and its ibis Styles hotel took a hit £400,000 driven by reduced bookings due to the pandemic.

The Merrion Centre owner said the proportion of retail and leisure assets in its portfolio has reduced to 39 per cent from 47 per cent in June 2020, and down from 70 per cent in 2016.

Pure retail now represents only 26 epr cent of the it portfolio and of that, 60 per cent is in the Merrion Estate.

Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of TCS, said: "The past six months have been critical in the resetting and reinvigorating of the business, and I am particularly pleased with both the progress of our disposal programme, and the resilience of the continuing portfolio.

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"The reduction in absolute borrowing levels gives both additional security and, as the disposal programme continues, the ability to reinvest in the long-term growth opportunities in our development pipeline.

“Covid-19 continues to have a material impact on profitability. Although significant government support has been given to retail and leisure businesses, as a car park operator, we have continued to pay car park rent to our local government landlords, as well as business rates which to us seems extraordinarily one sided.

"I am confident in the ability of our CitiPark business to bounce back strongly once the current lockdown comes to an end.

"Overall, we remain committed to delivering on our accelerated four pillar strategy of: actively managing our assets, maximising available capital, investing in our development pipeline and acquiring and improving investment assets to diversify our portfolio."

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TCS also announced that it had secured a letting of all of its newly refurbished office accommodation at 123 Albion Street in Leeds City Centre.

StepChange Debt Charity will be taking on three floors of new head office space at 123 Albion Street, which is situated within Leeds’ ‘Innovation District’.

The recent £5m refurbishment programme has delivered around 65,000 sq ft of space,

Helen Green, property director at TCS, said: "We are thrilled to be able to continue our long-standing relationship with StepChange Debt Charity by matching its requirements for a head office in Leeds City Centre at 123 Albion Street.

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"Our investment into this strategic asset has created a dynamic new workspace to add vibrancy to the Innovation District and wider Arena Quarter and it is fantastic to have achieved full occupation of the office space so soon after refurbishment works concluded."


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