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THE 1990'S


  • Notwithstanding the prevailing gloom in the property market, the opening on 25 October of Lakeside, Thurrock, the group’s flagship centre, is a spectacular event. At £353 million, Lakeside represents around a third of overall property assets – the group remains determined to keep 100 per cent ownership.


  • Life insurance activities move centre stage as TransAtlantic contributes its 29 per cent Sun Life interest and a further £180 million in cash to Rockleigh Corporation, a joint venture with UAP, which successfully offers and takes 100 per cent ownership of Sun Life.
  • The property market is still dire and net asset value per share falls 18 per cent.


  • Full merger with Capital & Counties finally enables TransAtlantic to obtain a listing on the London Stock Exchange.
  • The shares begin to rally strongly from a low of 162p as the property market shows signs of recovery, although net asset value per share still drops 12 per cent to 274p.


  • After three years of decline, TransAtlantic’s UK property valuations stop falling and instead show a surplus of 7.6 per cent while Sun Life has an outstanding year growing new business volumes strongly and increasing its long-term business funds from £10.9 billion to £15.3 billion.
  • The share price increases 49 per cent over the year to 355p.


  • TransAtlantic splits its property activities into two parts with Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) created as a specialist shopping centre business.
  • The initial public offering of CSC on the London Stock Exchange raises £216 million reducing TransAtlantic’s interest to just below 75 per cent.
  • The head lease of The Harlequin, Watford, is acquired for £162 million in a dramatic resolution of a legal dispute.


  • Previous years’ negative comments about the UK life industry prove prophetic as TransAtlantic sells its Sun Life interest to UAP for £527 million, a £260 million profit on cost.
  • TransAtlantic repurchases 40 million TransAtlantic shares at 320p per share, a large discount to net assets.
  • MetroCentre, Gateshead, Europe’s largest shopping complex, is acquired for £324 million and contracts are exchanged for CSC’s development of Braehead, Glasgow.


  • TransAtlantic changes its name to Liberty International.
  • CSC shares rise by 69 per cent, the best performing property share on the London Stock Exchange and CSC is already the fourth largest UK property company by market capitalisation.
  • Liberty International net asset value continues its strong recovery to 445p per share and total shareholders’ funds pass £2 billion.


  • Massive revaluation surpluses on Lakeside, MetroCentre and The Harlequin, Watford, 19 per cent overall for CSC, drive powerful results as aggregate property assets pass the £2.5 billion mark.
  • Braehead construction advances for opening in 1999 with 85 per cent of projected rental income already committed.


  • Property assets surge through £3 billion with an overall increase of 12 per cent in market values in a year when the gross redemption yield on the 20 year UK gilt fell nearly 2 per cent to 4.45 per cent.
  • A site is acquired in Uxbridge, West London, for a £150 million shopping centre development while lettings at Braehead reach 96 per cent of income with a year still to go before opening.


  • Liberty Life’s interest in Liberty International is reduced from 74 per cent to around 30 per cent by way of a distribution in specie to Liberty Life shareholders with Liberty International obtaining a listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
  • Braehead opens and proves an immediate operational and financial success.
  • The group exits its Australian property activities.
  • A further 45 million Liberty International shares are repurchased at a big discount to net asset value, as property shares languish compared with high flying technology stocks.