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Office space provider Workspace sees occupancy level returning this fiscal year

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(Reuters) -Office space provider Workspace Group said on Thursday it expects a recovery in occupancy levels in the current financial year as coronavirus-related restrictions ease in the UK and financial capital London opens up for business.

Office space providers are gradually recovering after work-from-home policies and the economic fallout from the pandemic hurt their margins as costs surge and customers default on rent payments.

Workspace, which owns and manages 4 million square feet of business space in London, said occupancy at its centres was at 20% of pre-pandemic levels by end-March and 30% by end-April.

"Despite the government lockdown, new customer demand picked up strongly through the fourth quarter, with average monthly enquiries of 910 and average monthly lettings of 111," the company said in a business update.

Workspace said cash collection has continued to be robust, with the company receiving 92% of rent due for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 and 84% for the first quarter of the current financial year.

Shares of the FTSE Midcap component rose more than 2% in early trade.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)