Songbird Estates gains value

Published in the Daily Express, September 2010

Songbird Estates, the majority owner of Canary Wharf, announced solid half-year results yesterday in the wake of rising demand for commercial property in London.

The past two years have been turbulent for the property business, which counts Qatari and Chinese investors among its biggest shareholders.

Its portfolio lost more than a quarter of its value in 2008 as the financial crisis struck but began to rise in late 2009 as activity in the financial sector picked up. Songbird said its portfolio had increased in value by 4.3 per cent in the first half of 2010 to £4.8billion.

Profits before tax fell to £13.1million for the half-year, against £89.7million previously. After taking into account the rising property valuation the group made a bottom line profit of £14.2million against losses of £110.9million for the same period last year.

Songbird also announced a £140million fundraising to repay a loan taken last year to buy an increased share of Canary Wharf Group. This follows an emergency £620million fundraising last year to help the company repay a £880million loan.

Shares fell 11dp to 146dp.