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Property company Minerva in trouble

It has been revealed that UK property company Minerva has fallen into "negative equity" in a reflection of what is still a very difficult UK property market. The current share price is just over 30p although the net asset value of the company has fallen from a positive 187.7p last year to a rarely seen liability of 28.8p per share as at 30 June. So what does the future hold for Minerva?

At first glance it appears that the company is in serious trouble although a further review of the full-year figures reveals that the company has a number of developments underway and indeed no debt is repayable until 2012. While the annual losses of £289.2 million are substantial to say the least, there is a hope that the company will at least benefit as and when the UK economy recovers and ongoing developments and assets increase in value.

The company is not alone in the UK property sector where a prolonged period of property asset reductions has annihilated many balance sheets. With UK banks unwilling to forward significant credit lines where there is any "undue risk", more and more UK property companies will be faced with very difficult decisions. Fire sales of existing assets will do nothing to improve the market in the short to medium term although if companies need capital then for some at least there will be no option.

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