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Minerva axes plan for London's tallest building; opts for 14-storey one UPDATE

Mon, 25th Sep 2006 09:47

(Updating on market conditions, more FY to June 30 results, building plans

LONDON (AFX) - Minerva PLC, the FTSE 250 property company, said it abandoned plans to build the City of London's largest and tallest office building, and would instead opt to construct a 14-storey building on the site.

The company had been considering whether to push ahead with a controversial 1 mln square foot, 50-storey 'Minerva building.' It has instead chosen to constuct a smaller, 14-storey, 530,000 square foot building on the site.

'The group has concluded that St Botolph's House represents a more suitable development opportunity on this site,' it said.

Minerva said both the City of London occupational and investment markets are performing strongly. It said total take-up activity in 2006 to date was 3.8 mln square feet vs 3.6 mln the year earlier.

It expects take-up to reach 5.1 mln square feet this year vs 4.8 mln in 2005, with the banking and financial sectors continuing to dominate the market.

Minerva also announced results, reporting full-year to June 30 net asset value per share of 311.5 pence vs 314.9p.

Pretax profit totalled 9.3 mln stg, compared with a loss of 4.7 mln the year earlier.

The company said one of its main projects, the Walbrook building in the City of London, is scheduled for completion in third-quarter 2009. Earlier statements had put completion in the summer of 2009.

Talks with John Lewis Partnership over the Park Place site in Croydon continue, and a decision on the compulsory purchase order (CPO) inquiry is expected in the first quarter of next year.

Minerva has omitted a dividend, in line with its stratedy that dividends will be paid from the realisation of projects.


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