* CEO: “We don’t see any imminent hike of interest rates”
* British Land first-half net asset value rises
* Shares rise as much as 1.5 pct (Adds CEO quote, details)
By Esha Vaish
Nov 18 (Reuters) - British Land Company Plc does not expect the UK to raise interest rates any time soon, its chief executive said, after the company posted strong first-half results on the back of London’s commercial property boom.
British Land’s shares rose as much as 1.5 percent to their highest in more than six years.
Commercial properties are being snapped up as Britain’s economic recovery gathers pace and the Bank of England keeps interest rates at a historic low. People and businesses are also changing address more frequently.
Investors have begun to push back even further their expectations of when interest rates will rise, amid concern about persistently low inflation.
“We don’t see any imminent hike of interest rates,” British Land Chief Executive Chris Grigg told Reuters. “You’ve seen, right round the world, evidence that interest rates are likely to stay low for longer.”
British Land is the country’s second-largest listed property developer, after Land Securities Group Plc.
The developer of London’s “Cheesegrater” skyscraper said on Tuesday it expected demand for office space in London to stay strong.
It said EPRA (European Public Real Estate Association) net asset value per share - a key measure for developers, as it reflects the value of their buildings - rose to 769 pence in the six months ended Sept. 30 from 688 pence a year earlier.
The company also raised its half-year dividend to 13.84 pence from 13.50 pence.
British Land’s strong results follow those of Land Securities, which last week posted a 20 percent rise in first-half adjusted net asset value.
The company’s shares were up 0.2 percent at 738.5 pence at 0848 GMT. (Editing by Sunil Nair and Robin Paxton)