A LANDMARK site in Glasgow has been sold and is to be used for housing.

Watkin Jones said it has completed the purchase of Portcullis House in Glasgow from Mapeley Investment Group Limited.

The site also offered the opportunity to create a hotel among development opportunities cited by selling agent CBRE.

The India Street site, which covers 0.826 acres, was sold for an undisclosed sum.

Officers at Glasgow City Council approved a £1.9 million attempt to purchase the property in June.

Developer and manager of residential property for rent, Watkin Jones will redevelop the site to deliver a new Build to Rent scheme comprising around 750 units.

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Plans for the new scheme include a co-working hub and communal amenity spaces offering "spectacular views" across the city.

Office building Portcullis House is currently let to The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government until April 2021. The new development will form an important part of the renewal of the western part of Glasgow city centre and is set for completion in 2024.

Watkin Jones Group Investment Director Alex Pease said: “We are delighted to have secured a highly deliverable build-to-rent development site in Glasgow, a key target city for the Group.

"The site is located in a prime urban location within the business district with excellent access to amenities and local transport links. The transaction demonstrates our positive outlook for the Build to Rent sector across the UK.”

Andy Cunningham, senior director at CBRE, added:  “It’s fantastic news that we can confirm we have successfully sold Portcullis House in Glasgow on behalf of our client Mapeley Investment Group Limited.

"The marketing campaign was carried out at the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic however the team still managed to generate significant amounts of interest and successfully completed the entire sales campaign for the rarely available site within just 76 days.

"This shows there continues to be strong investor interest for high quality sites in the right locations.

“We were extremely impressed with Watkin Jones’ plans for the site and look forward to seeing them coming to life over the next few years.” 

CBRE represented vendor Mapeley Investment Group Limited and Lambert Smith Hampton acted for purchaser Watkin Jones.

Rolls-Royce has revealed record half-year losses due to plunging demand for air travel amid the pandemic as it unveiled plans to sell off parts of its business to raise £2 billion.

The engine maker said the Covid-19 crisis sent it plunging to a £5.4 billion loss for the first six months of 2020.

It announced plans to offload parts of its business to boost its balance sheet as it battles to strengthen its finances amid an "unprecedented" slump in aviation activity.

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The group has earmarked ITP Aero in Spain for sale among other businesses to offload.

It has already axed about 4,000 jobs since May under the biggest ever shake-up of its civil aerospace arm, which will ultimately cost at least 9,000 jobs.

Derby-based Rolls said demand for large engines is set to remain below 2019 levels until 2025 and warned of "material uncertainties" caused by the pandemic that could cast doubts over its future.

Its mammoth half-year loss for the first six months of 2020 compares with losses of £791 million a year earlier.

On an underlying basis, the group swung to a £3.2 billion loss from profits of £93 million in the previous 12 months.

Rolls announced in May that 9,000 jobs would be axed globally to adapt to plunging demand amid the pandemic - with at least 5,000 of those now expected to go by the end of 2020 across the UK, Germany, Singapore and other worldwide bases.

It dealt a blow to UK workers on Wednesday, announcing plans to shut its aerospace factory in Annesley, Nottinghamshire, and merge sites in Lancashire.
Chief executive Warren East said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected our 2020 performance, with an unprecedented impact on the civil aviation sector with flights grounded across the world.

"We have made significant progress with our restructuring, which includes the largest reorganisation of our civil aerospace business in our history.

"This restructuring has caused us to take difficult decisions resulting in an unfortunate but necessary reduction in roles."

He added that there would be more action to offset the hit from Covid-19.
"In light of ongoing uncertainty in the civil aviation sector, we are continuing to assess additional options to strengthen our balance sheet to enable us to emerge from the pandemic well placed to capitalise on the long-term opportunities in all our markets," he said.

Advertising giant WPP has written down the value of some of the businesses it has bought - pushing it into a major loss for the first six months of the financial year.

The marketing business saw the first half of last year's £409 million pre-tax profit totally annihilated during the Covid-19 months as it lost nearly £2.6 billion.

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WPP said it had taken £2.7 billion of impairments, which helped flip it deep into the red, around the acquisition of some of its subsidiaries.

The write-downs were triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic as companies had to give higher discounts and made less profit in an industry where growth slowed down.

WPP also reported a 12.3% drop in revenue to just under £5.6 billion in the first half of the financial year.

The business now hopes that the worst is behind it, and that the second quarter will be the most painful period.

But this is reliant on there not being a second wave of Covid-19, and no major lockdowns, it said.

"After two months in which our strategic progress could be measured by growth outside Greater China, the second quarter saw an inevitable downturn, with like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs declining by 15%, albeit better than our expectations," said chief executive Mark Read.

"Assuming there is no second wave nor major lockdowns, the second quarter is expected to be the toughest period of the year, although we remain cautious on the speed of recovery."

Mr Read said that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated changes that were already happening in the sector, and therefore WPP needed to speed up its own plans.

It is investing in technology and ecommerce, and training staff with new skills, including accreditations from Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Salesforce.

"We are working with our clients to help them get back to business, adapt their marketing strategies at speed and reshape their operations for a new world.

"Brands are seeing increases in online sales of 100% and more, and we are supporting eight of our top 10 clients on ecommerce strategies."

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