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Henry Boot rises on land sales boost

24 Aug 11 Sales of land and property boosted the first-half results of Henry Boot.

The construction and property development group reported revenue for the six months to 30 June 2011 up 21% to £66.9m (2010: £55.1m).

Pre-tax profit was up 1.4% to £9.1m (2010: £8.9m).

The results were helped by £23m realised from the sale of housebuilding sites and from the sale of a shopping centre in Ayr for £33.8m.

Henry Boot Construction revenue fell 10% to £38.9m (2010: £43.3m), with operating profit falling 22% to £2.7m (2010: £3.5m).

An £8.9m operating profit in property development in H1 2010 became just £384,000 profit this time, but land development made an operating profit of £7.9m, following a £466,000 operating loss in in H1 2010.

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Chairman John Brown described the results as “a further solid performance.” He said that the property market had “remained stable but continues to be challenging”.

 He added: “The house building sector has continued to trade at about the same level as over the last two years and indications are that over the next year activity will not increase substantially. We remain of the view that, as and when the recovery gathers momentum, our established portfolio of greenfield land sites will stand the company in good stead and we continue to actively grow our site portfolio.

“Construction trading remains in line with management expectations. We are mindful that government spending cuts will have an impact on the level of work being available to the market as a whole. We are still seeing opportunities within both the private and public sectors, although it is anticipated that margins will have to be competitive to win this type of work.”

Henry Boot recently set up a division to deliver renewable energy technologies and is now starting to secure new work. “We believe the foothold we have established in this expanding sector provides impetus for future growth,” Mr Brown said.

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