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Business & Economy

TOC Property Backed Lending Trust PLC defies COVID-19 to post growth

An investment venture overseen by a North East wealth management firm has defied the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen its market presence.

The TOC Property Backed Lending Trust PLC (PBLT) says it has expanded its portfolio of property backed loans after supporting investment and development projects across the North East and Scotland.

According to interim results for the six months to May 31, the London-listed investment company – which is managed by Newcastle-based wealth management and property lending firm Tier One Capital – grew revenue per share and recorded six-month income of £1.2 billion, which was an increase on the £1 billion recorded in the equivalent 2019 period.

Furthermore, despite the challenging COVID-19 backdrop, the company made an interim dividend payment to investors of 1.5p.

It also provided almost £4.5 million of new lending, with £2.3 million proffered to support residential housebuilding in the North East.

John Newlands, chairman of PBLT [pictured left], said that despite its cautious approach, owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, bosses remain very upbeat for its future prospects.

He said: “The company has come a long way since its formation more than three years ago and the board remains committed to a clear, robust and sustainable dividend policy, alongside the core objective to increase the net asset value of the company.

“Over the nearer term, it remains prudent to adopt a cautious stance, as the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic is played out.

“We need to maintain a strong base as these issues are worked through, and to manage our dividend distribution policy in a similar fashion to other listed companies, to ensure liquidity is available to protect the medium and longer-term viability of the fund and its projects.

John added: “At the same time, encouragement may be drawn from the positive signs being seen and from the number of investment opportunities being presented.”

Listed on the London Stock Exchange in January 2017, PBLT has, to date, provided more than £38 million in financial support.

Predominantly backing ventures in the North East, as well as Scotland’s commercial and residential property development markets, officials say its help has fuelled the creation of more than 600 jobs and £85 million of property value.

PBLT boasts a current loan book of more than £27 million across its portfolio of property projects and has strengthened its short-term pipeline over recent months to in excess of £12 million of new opportunities, many of which are planned for the North East.

Brendan O’Grady, fund manager at Tier One Capital, added: “Despite a challenging six months for the property sector, we are delighted that the majority of PBLT’s borrowers have performed resiliently during this period.

“It is highly encouraging to see the company’s revenues continue to grow, and to see the ongoing deployment of capital into both new and existing property projects.”