The Crown Estate announces a record £230.9 million profit.
-7 July 2011
The Crown Estate earned a net profit (income surplus) of £230.9 million in the year ending 31 March 2011, up 9.6 per cent on the previous year. This marks a record return for the business, which pays its profit to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation’s finances.
For the first time The Crown Estate’s total property value has reached more than £7 billion, rising in the year by 12.9 per cent. Total capital value of the estate now stands at £7.3 billion, up 9.2 per cent on the previous year. The Crown Estate total return as measured by IPD was 16.3 per cent, outperforming its bespoke benchmark of 12.8 per cent by 3.5 per cent.
Earlier this year, chief executive Roger Bright announced that he is to step down at the end of December 2011. During his 10 years as chief executive, the value of The Crown Estate has increased by over £3 billion and it has paid nearly £2 billion to the Treasury.
Sir Stuart Hampson, chairman of The Crown Estate, said: “This has been another tremendous year of activity and achievement for The Crown Estate. During Roger’s tenure as chief executive, The Crown Estate has been transformed into one of the UK’s most successful property businesses, one which has not only delivered spectacular results including nearly £2 billion of profit to the Treasury, but also demonstrates clearly that entrepreneurialism and flair can thrive in a public body.”
Roger Bright added: “This has in many ways been a landmark year for The Crown Estate. Whilst we remain cautious about the prospects for 2011 and beyond, this year we have seen our results bounce back, reporting a record year in profits and a capital value that stands at the highest level in our history.
“Among the year’s many highlights, the most notable is the agreement of a £1.8 billion property partnership on Regent Street. This will drive our performance for many years, not just by bringing our partner’s capital alongside ours to continue our improvement programme in Regent Street, but also by enabling us to invest actively across our diverse portfolio, including in St James’s, in prime retail outside of London, and in the nascent wind, wave and tidal energy industries."
During the year The Crown Estate continued to deliver on its investment strategy. The urban estate set out plans for a £500 million regeneration programme in St James’s and continued rebalancing its commercial holdings by investing over £250 million in what is now a £1 billion portfolio of prime retail properties outside of London; this comprises 16 assets including retail parks in Liverpool, Nottingham, Portsmouth and Hemel Hempstead, and two major joint ventures at the Westgate Centre in Oxford, and Princesshay Shopping Centre in Exeter.
At a time when competitors have ceased or substantially reduced development activity The Crown Estate’s long-term approach has seen it invest £87 million during the year in redevelopment: The Quadrant 3 scheme at the former Regent Palace Hotel is set to complete in autumn this year, on budget and four months ahead of schedule, and work at the St James’s Gateway scheme is also now well underway.
A 32 per cent uplift in the value of The Crown Estate’s marine estate largely reflects the progress it has made in the renewable energy sector, in which it continues to help developers realise the huge potential of the UK’s energy-rich coastal waters. The Crown Estate’s most recent offshore wind farm development programme, Round Three, remains on track. Construction of its Round 1 offshore wind programme is almost complete and operational, and more than half of the projects in Round 2 are either under construction or operational. This year Rounds One and Two also benefited from project extensions which could create over 2GW of additional renewable energy for the UK – enough to meet the electricity needs of 1.4 million homes.
In line with its strategy, the rural estate, which exceeded £1 billion in capital value for the first time, continued to take an active approach to its portfolio, carrying out a number of transactions, using profits to seize opportunities, make strategic purchases and add value to its existing holdings; this included the disposal of the Garton on the Wolds estate in Yorkshire and the acquisition of Threshelfords Farm at Feering in Essex. In addition, following extensive consultation with local communities, major planning applications have been submitted at Bingham, Nottinghamshire, and Taunton, Somerset, which together have the potential to deliver over 1,500 new homes, a significant number of local jobs, and a substantial capital value for The Crown Estate.
Financial highlights by estate:
- On the urban estate the value of the portfolio increased by 11.6 per cent to £5.2 billion. Activity in the capital markets was reflected by the fact that the commercial portfolio outperformed the IPD Quarterly benchmark (IPD Universe) by 3.6 per cent, delivering a total return of 14.9 per cent.
- On the marine estate revenue increased by 1.7 per cent to £47.4 million. Total property value rose to £586.9 million, up 32.3 per cent on the previous year and delivering a 36 per cent total return. There was an increase in income from renewables, which rose by 34.6 per cent to £3.5 million as work to facilitate and enable this fledgling industry gathered momentum. The coastal estate, which includes marinas, ports, and harbours, added £14.3 million in revenue, an increase of 8.5 per cent.
- The capital value of the rural estate has exceeded £1 billion for the first time, rising by 8 per cent. Active asset management has seen revenue rise this year by 2.4 per cent to £25.7 million, delivering a total return of 12.1 per cent.
- The Windsor estate enjoyed another year of progress. Revenue rose by 3 per cent to £6.8 million, and capital value rose by 5.3 per cent to £185.9 million.