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UK's Shaftesbury resumes final dividend after smaller annual loss

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FILE PHOTO: The spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
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  • SHABF

(Reuters) - West End-focused commercial landlord Shaftesbury Plc reported on Tuesday a smaller annual loss and resumed final dividend payment, helped by a bounce back in the prospects of its core tenant base of hospitality firms and fashion retailers.

Landlords heavily exposed to non-essential retailers and restaurants are on a slow, yet steady recovery path since the full reopening of businesses in July after the COVID-19 lockdowns and an extended ban on evictions battered commercial revenue streams and pummelled valuations.

"There has been great progress on Shaftesbury's road to recovery in recent months," Chief Executive Officer Brian Bickell said in a statement, adding that "although there is still further to travel before certainty and confidence fully returns".

In an indication of the pandemic impact, the FTSE 250 company said a per-share measure that reflects the value of its buildings - EPRA Net Tangible Assets - fell 15% to 6.19 pounds, while overall portfolio valuation declined 5.4% on a like-for-like basis.

Shaftesbury, which owns about 600 buildings in the heart of London's West End, said loss after tax for the year ended Sept. 30 narrowed to 194.9 million pounds ($259.59 million), from 699.5 million pounds and recommended a final dividend of 4 pence per share.

Earlier this month, UK commercial property heavyweights Land Securities Plc and British Land Plc swung back to half-year profit, partly helped by strong rents at their core office portfolios.

($1 = 0.7508 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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