UPDATE 1-British Land invests 512 mln stg as confidence picks up

Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:30am EDT

LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - British Land has invested 512 million pounds ($787 million) on property acquisitions since the start of April against the backdrop of a tentative economic recovery in the UK, the country's second largest listed developer said on Wednesday.

In March, it raised almost 1 billion pounds for new investments via a share placement and sale of an office block, since when deals include a 470 million pound office complex in the Paddington district of west London.

"There are some signs that confidence is strengthening and the UK economy is growing, albeit at very low rates," the company said in a trading update. "In property, this improving confidence has been most evident in the investment market which has seen a broadening of investor demand and risk appetite."

Strengthening demand from tenants was mainly confined to its London properties and remained weaker at its retail properties around the UK, the company said.

The Paddington deal helped the company tip the balance of its portfolio further away from the City financial district, where tenant demand has been patchier since the financial crisis.

The dividend will increase by 2.3 percent to 6.75 pence for the quarter and to 27 pence for the year, a move the company said reflected "confidence in future cashflows".

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