Land Securities today fuelled speculation of a potential break-up of the group after confirming it was conducting a review of the business.

The UK’s biggest property firm said it was looking at "alternative options" for the group’s structure after earlier reports that it was considering a break-up to revive its flagging share price.

Shares in the real estate sector, including Land Securities, have taken a hit in recent months amid increasing fears of a slowdown in the commercial property market.

Reports suggest that it may separate the business into three parts - retail, London offices and its property management and outsourcing business Trillium.

Chief executive Francis Salway said: "It became evident to us in the run up to and following REIT (real estate investment trust) conversion that we should test our current business structure against alternative options to ensure that we have the optimal structure for creating long term shareholder value."

Land Securities, which converted to a tax-efficient REIT at the start of the year, has seen its shares slide from highs of 2340p in January to 1827p yesterday.

Shares across the sector soared at the end of last year as investment property firms prepared to adopt the newly-introduced REIT status, but concerns over the future of the property market have seen investors turn their backs on the stocks.

Fellow REIT Hammerson yesterday added to the doubts as it warned that it had seen a slowdown in investment activity in the commercial property sector in the three months to the end of June, while challenging conditions for retailers added to pressure in the retail property sector.

It also said that it could see a slowdown in demand for office buildings in central London if the current market turmoil continued.

Land Securities property portfolio was valued at #14.8 billion at the end of March and specialises in retail property and London offices, including the St David’s Centre in Cardiff and the White Rose Centre in Leeds.

Trillium, the group’s outsourcing and management arm, accounts for around 5% of the firm’s total profits.

It buys property portfolios and then leases them back to the former owner, charging fees for managing the properties.

Land Securities is also the firm behind the plans for the contentious "Walkie Talkie" tower, which became the subject of a public inquiry last November amid concerns that its would damage the London skyline.

The building got the go-ahead in July, but now faces uncertainties following the more subdued outlook for the London office market.