Henry Boot back in the black

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
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Property and construction firm Henry Boot has bounced back into profit and is pressing ahead with several big development schemes.

The firm, which is now debt free, aims to invest in land and property and secure planning consents for its housing arm.

Pre-tax profits recovered to £18.9m in 2010 after a loss of £11.9m last time, while revenues rose 13% to £133m.

Chairman, John Reis, said firm’s strategy to preserve asset value and reduce debt left it in a position to exploit a recovery.

“We are now debt free, which gives us considerable flexibility going forward to invest in land and property development without recourse to expensive funding sources.

“Furthermore, we will continue to invest in securing planning consents on our greenfield land portfolio to enable us to supply the recovering housebuilding market where, we believe, planning constraints could serve to improve the value of these long-term investments.

But he warned that a combination of Coalition Government intervention in the planning regime and local authority staff cutbacks within planning departments would reduce the number of new planning permissions being granted in the coming months and years.

“However, we anticipated this development and are pleased to report that over 20% of our portfolio of land already has either planning permission or an allocation in a local plan, and is therefore much further through the planning process, compared with around 10% some five years ago.”

    Trading divisions results in 2010

    Construction: £9.2m (£16.8m); turnover £84.8m (£84.9)
    Land: profit £0.6m (-£3.1m); turnover £34.3 (£10.2)
    Property: profit of £10.5m (-£16.3m); turnover £13.8 (£28.7m)

New developments being progressed

Henry Boot is now pressing ahead with several big schemes.

In Daventry, planning applications for both the 100,000 sq ft town centre redevelopment and the 140,000 sq ft edge of centre retail park will be submitted in the first half of 2011.

Once consent has been granted for this £50m scheme, an early start on development work is anticipated.

Demolition work at Henry Boot’s Tamworth town centre has just been completed following consent to build 200,000 sq ft retail planning permission. Negotiations with potential occupiers are underway.

At Priory Park, Hull, negotiations for off-site highway improvement works have now been finalised with the Highways Agency.

This will now allow for planning permission for the final phase of development to include an increased amount of higher value office space. Work to start the infrastructure to open up this office-based phase will start in several months.

Detailed planning application and listed building consent application also have been submitted for a mixed use conversion of the former County Court building on Deansgate in Manchester city centre.

With the support of English Heritage, planning is expected approval in the first half of 2011, followed by a marketing phase and ultimately redevelopment.

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