U.K. real estate investement trust Land Securities Group Plc swung to a pretax profit for the first half, helped by a valuation increase on its portfolio of 3.4 percent. Net assets per share rose 6 percent.

The increase in valuation surplus of 314.1 million pounds, it said, reflected a combination of a 1.1 percent increase in rental values on its like-for-like investment properties and the strong contribution of its development programme which delivered a 9.6 percent valuation surplus.

Of the increase, 199.4 million pounds arose in the London portfolio and 114.7 million pounds in Retail portfolio, the company said.

For the half year ended Sept.30, the company said pretax profit was 455.3 million pounds ($736.3 million), compared with a loss of 4.6 million pounds in the corresponding period of the prior year.

Revenue profit, the company's measure of underlying pretax profit, rose 5.8 percent to 135.9 million in the first half. For the second half, it said revenue profit is unlikely to be as strong as the first half due to some items relating to development activity and the timing of income flows.

Our plans to invest in development projects for delivery in 2012/13 are being realised, and we are already seeing higher returns from this activity with the value of our development programme increasing by just under 10 percent in the first six months of our financial year, chief executive Francis Salway said.

The company said it will continue to secure substantial pre-lettings for its retail developments and also increase occupancy levels, to enhance its assets value and boost earnings through higher rents and lower outgoings on vacant space.

Through these actions, we will keep building our momentum as we move through the second half of the financial year and into 2011, Land Securities said.

As at Sept. 30, net assets per share were 795 pence, up 45 pence or 6 percent compared to the year ended March 31, driven by the increase in value of its investment property portfolio, the company said.

Shares of Land Securities ended Wednesday's regular trading session at 695 pence on the London Stock Exchange.