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Miller returns to profit

11 Sep 12 The Miller Group has edged back into the black with a £400k pre-tax profit for the first half of the year, compared to a £52.9m loss for the same period last year.

CEO Keith Miller
CEO Keith Miller

The recently refinanced construction group reported a 7% rise in revenues for the six months to 30 June 2012, to £262.5m (2011 H1: £244.9m).

With Miller making a £42m pre-tax loss for the full year 2011 and a £100m loss for 2010, the turnaround was overdue.

In March 2012 Miller got a £160m injection from investors led by Blackstone subsidiary GSO.

Housebuilding activities delivered revenues of £124.8m (2011 H1: £124.3m) and a significant rise in operating profit to £4.4m (2011 H1: loss of £35.2m). Total housing completions of 820 units (2011 H1: 821 units) were static, as expected.

Construction revenue was down slightly at £113.1m (2011 H1: £115.6m) with an operating loss of £800k (2011 H1: profit £1.4m) due to increased business development expenditure. With £320m of new orders secured in H1, the total order book is up 34% during the period to £805m as a result of increased business development, the company said.

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Group chairman Philip Bowman said: “Despite the challenging economic environment the group has achieved an improved set of results in the first half of 2012. Since being appointed chairman in April 2012, I have been impressed with the quality and resilience of the businesses and the strength and depth of the operational management.

“Following the refinancing, the business is now well funded and our objective is progressively to deliver value to our enlarged investor base. I am confident the management team will continue to build on the steady progress that they have made in the first half of 2012.”

Group chief executive Keith Miller added: “I am pleased to report that the group has delivered a strong performance during the first half of 2012 and returned to profit. Trading has remained steady; both turnover and total housing volumes are at the same level as last year against the backdrop of challenging market conditions.

“Looking ahead to the second half of 2012 and beyond, we are poised to increase turnover in line with the group's expectations. A particular highlight for the group is that to date the construction order book is already 34% ahead of December 2011 levels at £805m. We are also continuing to invest in high quality land and we anticipate spending £55m on new housing land during the remainder of the year which will support further sales outlet growth into 2013 and beyond. However, any real improvement in housing starts will only arise if there is a change in lenders’ strategies regarding the availability and pricing of mortgages.”

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