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LondonMetric earnings rise as it brushes off online retail threat

LondonMetric issued its annual results for the year ended 31 March on Wednesday, reporting £90.6m in net rental income, up from £81.8m in the 2017 financial year.
The FTSE 250 firm's reported profit surged to £186m from £63m, while its EPRS earnings were £59.1m, rising from £51m a year earlier.

EPRA earnings per share were 8.5p, up from 8.2p, and the board confirmed dividends per share for the year totalled 7.9p, rising from 7.5p.

Looking at its balance sheet, LondonMetric's IFRS net assets stood at £1.15bn, up from £1.01bn, while its EPRA net assets were also £1.15bn, rising from £1.03bn.

Its EPRA net asset value per share was 165.2p, compared to 149.8p a year ago, while its loan-to-value ratio rose to 35% from 30%.

"Our objective of generating a repetitive and growing income stream continues to deliver strong returns, aided by our purposeful alignment towards modern shopping habits," said chief executive Andrew Jones.

"Today's world is complex and increasingly dynamic.

"The impact of digital evolution and ongoing shifts in consumer shopping habits is being felt more than ever in the retail sector."

Jones said that while the "virtual tills" were ringing, the physical ones were not, adding that many would say that the retail space was entering its final act.

"We are not and there will be value destruction in parts of retail.

"Our early anticipation of these shifts and the global search for income led to our pivot towards distribution and long income assets which more accurately cater for modern shoppers' needs.

"Five years on from the merger that created LondonMetric, the company and its shareholders continue to see the benefits of this focused strategy."

Economic compounding is the essence of long term value creation, Jones quipped, explaining that the firm's adoption of that principle, together with its occupier intelligence and property relationships, had been "instrumental" in its success.

"Whilst we can never be totally immune, we believe that this approach gives us a competitive advantage to navigate these changing times, allows us to increase our earnings and, in turn, grow our dividends."

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