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UK's Land Securities Converts To REIT Status

by Robert Lee,, London

04 January 2007

Land Securities Plc has confirmed its conversion into REIT status (real estate investment trust) under the United Kingdom's new REIT regime, which went into effect on January 1. The company now claims to be one of the world's largest REITs.

The company announced on Tuesday that the move follows acceptance by HM Revenue and Customs of its notification letter in late December 2006.

REIT status allows companies to avoid paying corporate tax provided most of their income is distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends.

The Group will now be carrying out the required valuation of its qualifying property assets to establish the precise amount of the 2% conversion charge, expected to be around GBP300m and due to be paid in full in July 2007.

The December valuation is a one-off exercise and will include an external valuation of both the investment portfolio and also the qualifying properties held by Land Securities Trillium, representing the first valuation of these assets since Trillium was acquired in 2000. It is anticipated that the results of this valuation exercise will be announced to shareholders in February 2007.

Commenting on the conversion, Francis Salway, Land Securities’ Group Chief Executive, said:

“From today, we have become one of the three largest REITs in the world and the UK’s largest REIT by market capitalisation."

"REIT investors can benefit from our market leading positions in London offices, retail and property partnerships as well as our long-term track record of generating strong returns for our shareholders. The tax efficiencies afforded by this change in status will result in an enhanced future dividend and we are confident that Land Securities will be one of the UK real estate investment vehicles of choice for both UK and international investors."

The firm's national portfolio of commercial property is worth many billions of pounds and includes some of Britain’s best-known shopping centres, such as the Birmingham Bullring and Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, as well as London landmarks such as the Piccadilly Lights and Westminster City Hall.

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