Ipswich property firm says it is in good shape despite assets' fall in value
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
The boss of the company set up to provide rental income to Ipswich council has insisted it has a healthy future although the paper value of its assets has been cut by auditors.
Ipswich Borough Assets (IBA) was set up as an independent company owned by the council six years ago to own and manage commercial property and using the rent paid to provide an income to support council services.
It is able to use money borrowed by the council at low rates of interest from the government's Public Works Loans Board (now administered by HM Treasury) and then pay the rent received back to the council.
Over the last year external auditors have revalued the property it holds, and have wiped £13m off its total valuation.
That has to be formally recorded as a loss in its 2020/21 accounts that were formally submitted on Thursday. However, IBA chair and Labour councillor Colin Kreidewolf said this was only a paper exercise.
He said: "They say we would get less for the assets than we paid for them - but that only means anything if you are planning to sell them. We aren't.
"All our properties, apart from two, are occupied or are being prepared for occupation. We have very good tenants - 97% are fully up to date with their rents which is a very good figure."
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IBA owns the Anglia Retail Park off Bury Road and Beardmore Park at Martlesham Heath. It also owns a business park near Peterborough, several shops in the town centre, offices in Princes Street and the Monumart distribution centre at Europa Way.
Mr Kreidewolf was frustrated that auditors had revalued down all its substantial retail park holdings because they had been doing very well even during the pandemic.
Anglia Retail Park is continuing to expand - IBA is building a new unit for Tim Hortons restaurants, has signed up Taco Bell to take on the old Carphone Warehouse site and is hoping to get the go-ahead to build a new supermarket for Lidl.
Beardmore Park's largest tenant is Marks and Spencer.
Mr Kreidewolf said: "They are all very good tenants and all provide a good, secure income for us. I don't see why the value of the sites is reduced but as we have absolutely no intention of selling any of them that is all fairly academic. They could easily go up in value again next year."