British Land Full-Year Profit Gains as Tenants Pay More Rent

British Land Co., the U.K.’s second-largest real estate investment trust, said annual earnings rose 8.4 percent as tenants paid higher rents.

Underlying profit before tax for the year through March increased to 297 million pounds ($500 million) from 274 million pounds a year earlier, the London-based company said in a statement. The value of office and residential projects climbed by 14.5 percent.

British Land has raised 1.5 billion pounds of debt finance in the last 12 months to spend on acquisitions and development as the company seeks to take advantage of rising values and an improving economy. U.K. commercial real estate values rose for the 11th consecutive month in March, according to Investment Property Databank Ltd.

“Our 2010 development program is nearing completion,” Chief Executive Officer Chris Grigg said in the statement. “It has now generated 608 million pounds of profit with a further 45 million pounds estimated to come.”

The development program included a stake in the tower known as the Cheesegrater on Leadenhall Street in the City of London financial district.

Net income rose to 1.1 billion pounds from 284 million pounds as the value of the company’s assets rose. British Land’s shares have advanced about 14 percent this year. Net rental income increased to 313 million pounds from 281 million pounds a year earlier.