Optimistic CapCo enjoys Covent Garden business bounce
Capital & Counties (CapCo) believes it’s slowly getting back to its best. The London, Covent Garden-centric property group’s CEO Ian Hawksworth said as much in its interim half-year trading update to 30 June.
The cautiously optimistic boss said: “The elevated level of enquiries, strong transactional activity and improving sentiment indicate that the worst of the pandemic may be behind us”.
He noted that 12 new openings are scheduled for this year, including a store for US sustainable fashion brand Reformation.
That came despite suffered a further writedown in the value of its Covent Garden portfolios, a hangover from the brutal lack of trading during the past year.
It fell by almost 5% to £1.7 billion in the six months to the end of June, meaning the estate has lost 31% of its value since the end of 2019, and 26% of its estimated rental value.
But that gradual recovery seems to be gaining traction. H1 net rental income rose to £21 million from £18.2 million a year earlier. Vacancy in the Covent Garden estate has also improved to 3.4%, from 3.5 %at the end of last year.
Rent collection for the June quarter was 47%, an improvement on the average of 34% over the previous five quarters. After adjusting for monthly payment plans, the collection rate also rose to 65%.
Hawksworth added: “There are challenges in the near term, as the economy moves towards more normal levels of activity, however we remain confident in the resilience of London’s West End and the enduring appeal of Covent Garden”.
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