Newswatch – Brixton oils wheels of industry

Boom times in the South-East property market mean good times for Brixton Estate, the growing property operator which is focusing its attention on the region’s industrial and warehouse sector.

The company, due to announce its half-year results next Wednesday, has been busy offloading overseas assets and office blocks to go down its chosen, and currently lucrative, path.

FD Steve Owen said the reason behind this philosophy is that Brixton is perceived to be the best operator in the territory, including getting round the restrictive planning policies which are an occupational hazard in the sector.

During the next six months, Owen will be concentrating on replacing – with industrial and warehouse space – some of the ?m of assets the company has recently disposed of overseas and in the UK office rental sector.

While the company will focus mainly on the South East, Owen says it will also look at property around Birmingham and Manchester airports.

Recent statistics show the property investment and development company already has a £1.1bn portfolio, owning 11 million square feet of space let to 900 tenants. The company’s pre-tax profits for 1998 were £40.5m.

But Owen has harsh words for rises in stamp duty imposed by the government this year.

‘To increase stamp duty on the commercial property market to dampen down the housing market is illogical and inconsistent. But there are no votes in the commercial property market so the Treasury feels it can get away with it.’

Related reading

HMRC banknotes