Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

UK-focused landlord Capital & Counties Properties (Capco), which separated from Donald Gordon’s Liberty International in 2010, plans to split in two by separately listing its main estates in London.

The company said on Thursday it wants to list its Covent Garden estate, valued at about £2.8bn (R48.5bn), as a UK real estate investment trust (Reit), while also unbundling its Earls Court development project. 

Capco plans to list both assets on the London Stock Exchange, with secondary listings on the JSE.

The Earls Court business, which will become EC Properties, held properties worth £426m at the end of June. Capco said a number of parties had offered to buy Earls Court, though a sale was not guaranteed.

“Covent Garden and Earls Court are distinct businesses with different risk and reward profiles,” it said in a statement.

A demerger would give each business more flexibility in terms of strategy and balance-sheet management, the company said. It would also allow investors to access each asset separately.

Capco said it wants its current top management team to lead the unbundled Covent Garden London business.

In a separate statement, Capco said it would keep its interim dividend unchanged at 0.5p a share. Underlying earnings in the six months to end-June rose to £4.5m from £4.3m a year before.

The company said its total property value declined by 2% to £3.2bn in the six months to end-June because of a slump in Earls Court’s value. This was because “uncertainties in the broader political and economic environment continue to impact sentiment around London residential property”.

Capco’s shares were 0.6% down at R37.23 on Thursday morning.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za