IFRS profit before tax increased to £330.0 million (H1 2014: £226.5 million) and Adjusted profit before tax1 increased to £69.2 million (H1 2014: £66.7 million).
8.3 per cent increase in EPRA NAV per share to 416 pence reflecting improving asset values driven by strong investor demand for the asset class, asset management initiatives and development gains and, increasingly, by rental growth.
Investor demand for warehousing continues to strengthen across Europe. The Group's portfolio increased in value by 6.0 per cent to £5.2 billion, including a 6.9 per cent increase in the completed UK portfolio, reflecting SEGRO's strong weighting in London, the South East and the Midlands logistics 'golden triangle'. The completed Continental Europe portfolio increased in value by 2.3 per cent, with positive momentum in all of our major markets.
Adjusted EPS of 9.2 pence (H1 2014: 8.9 pence) supported by 4.3 per cent growth in like-for-like rental income, development completions and lower financing and operating costs. We are taking advantage of the improving economic environment across our markets and the lack of supply of quality industrial space, particularly in the UK.
Development programme and well-located land bank to drive further growth. The current construction programme, which is strategically focused on areas with limited supply of Grade A space and strong occupier demand, will deliver 332,400 sq m of new space (equating to £22 million of new rent). The remaining land bank has potential to deliver an additional 2.0 million sq m in the medium term (£73 million of new rent).
Interim dividend increased by 2.0 per cent to 5.0 pence (2014 interim dividend of 4.9 pence).
Commenting on the results, David Sleath, Chief Executive, said:
"2015 is shaping up to be another good year for SEGRO with strong operating metrics and portfolio performance, as the benefits of the portfolio re-shaping programme continue to be felt. We have experienced particularly strong demand from parcel delivery companies, third party logistics operators and retailers as economic conditions in our major markets continue to improve.
"The limited supply of high quality industrial and logistics space in our main markets, together with the impact of powerful structural drivers of demand for our products and sustained investor appetite for high quality assets, should be supportive of property returns for some time to come. As it becomes increasingly difficult to secure acquisition opportunities which meet our return targets, we are focusing investment activity on our development programme, approving new construction and adding to our land bank in our core markets. We remain optimistic about our future operating performance as well as portfolio values."