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British Land Net Asset Value Down 16.7%

Property firm British Land said on Thursday its quarterly net asset value fell 16.7 percent to 1,401 pence per share, as portfolio values dropped 8.9 percent, hit by the global credit squeeze.

"Macro-economic uncertainty and the global credit crunch have depressed property values. However, the worst should now be behind us, though uncertainties remain on timing and extent of the correction," it said in a statement.

Britain's second largest real estate investment trust (REIT) -- a property investment vehicle which pays the majority of profits to shareholders in exchange for certain tax privileges -- said the sharp revaluations seen across its 18.4 billion pounds ($36.11 billion) portfolio in the nine months to end-December were "largely indiscriminate", raising prospects for a shorter UK property market slowdown.

British Land said it had completed 600 million pounds of property sales since September at prices in line with valuations, which it said suggested appetite for UK real estate investment was slowly recovering.

The company reported like-for-like rental growth of 5 percent for the nine months to Dec. 31, versus an Investment Property Databank benchmark of 3.4 percent.

"At present, the occupier markets from which our cash flows derive remain in better health than investment markets are discounting," said British Land Chief Executive Stephen Hester.

The company posted underlying earnings per share of 14 pence for the quarter, up 16.7 percent on the third quarter 2006.

Underlying pre-tax profit also climbed to 72 million pounds, up 12.5 percent against the corresponding period in 2006.