One of the leading names in providing London office and studio space, Workspace Group PLC, have today revealed that they had suffered a staggering 211% loss of profit in the last 12 months.
In figures released as part of the real estate investment trusts’ half-year report, the Workspace Group posted a -211% change in profit between the period of September 2019 to September of 2020; as property valuation lowered during the pandemic, along with an exodus of the workforce from the traditional core working areas of the capital.
In addition to the major loss, Workspace also posted a trading profit after interest was down to £15.3m after giving £19.9m of rent discounts to its customers. For comparison, the figure released the previous year was £40.1m.
Commenting on the results, Graham Clemett, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Like so many businesses, we have had a challenging first half as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the difficult environment, we have delivered a resilient performance which has highlighted the strength of our offering and business model. We have sought to support our customers as much as possible during this time, offering the majority a 50% rent discount in the first quarter.
“We believe our freehold ownership model, our financial strength and our long-established flexible offer will be an attractive option for an increasing number of London businesses as the economy recovers. In this regard, it was encouraging to see the increase in enquiries and lettings from new customers to near pre-COVID levels in the second quarter, confirming the appeal of our offer.
“As the economy recovers from COVID-19, businesses will need to be more agile and will expect the same from office space providers. By owning our properties outright, we can quickly adapt to customers’ changing needs – from ensuring they are COVID-safe to making our offices ever more sustainable. This is distinct to Workspace and ideally positions us in the flight to flexibility.”
Established in 1987, Workspace owns and manages approx 4 million sq ft of business space in the capital.
As a result of being one the city’s largest names in office-related real estate, Workspace has managed to absorb the impacts of COVID-19 better than many smaller businesses across the UK – many of which have had to shutter their doors as a result of the pandemic.
Despite the economic downturn and a recent £11m property disposal, Workspace have opened two new business centres providing 94,000 sq ft of space, as well as planning for a further three projects (105,000 total sq ft).
Highlighting the journey ahead, Graham adds: “Our immediate priority is to manage our way through the challenges of the second half of the year. With Government COVID-19 restrictions in place, we expect to see further pressure on occupancy and pricing in the near-term, which will impact on our full-year performance. However, our strong balance sheet, compelling customer offer and experienced team mean that Workspace is well-positioned to navigate the challenges ahead and benefit as the economy recovers.”