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Profits boost for slimmer Stewart Milne

13 Nov 12 Stewart Milne Group has announced a strong trading performance for 2011/12 with operating profit up 21% on the previous year.

Chairman and chief executive Stewart Milne
Chairman and chief executive Stewart Milne

The slimmed-down core business made an operating profit of £19m for the year to 30 June 2012 and a net profit of £7.4m.

Non-recurring costs of £8.29m were attributed to the closure of the construction business (£6.9m) and other group restructure costs (£1.3m), resulting in an overall group operating profit of £12.1m and net pre-tax profit up 25% to £500,000.

Group turnover was up 17% from £229.1m to £268.1m.

Chairman and chief executive Stewart Milne said:  “Our overall performance of our core business was positive and we’ve delivered improved operational profit and marginally improved net profit, despite the cost of exiting the construction market and restructuring. The performance is testament to the strength of our business, the experience of the management team, and the consistent quality of our products and service.

“We are performing well by remaining focused on the core values that have defined the company for the past 37 years, and are in a good position for growth. Despite a challenging marketplace, we have maintained a resilient balance sheet that remains as strong as it was prior to the downturn.”

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Stewart Milne Group quit the construction market earlier this year when it sold its construction arm to Kier.  Group managing director Glenn Allison explained: “We took a view that, in the current market, to be successful in the construction sector it was critical to either be a larger player or a niche market provider. We could not operate effectively in the market at our size and so we took the decision to exit the market and focus on our profitable and growing core businesses, Homes and Timber Systems.”  

The company’s land bank now comprises 3,500 consented plots and a further 9,000 under conditional contract and at various stages in the planning process.

“Our existing land bank represents a more than adequate supply of consented plots to meet our needs for the next five years,” Mr Allison said. “This is core to our future growth, providing the platform for our new sites and developments and our further expansion into England. Since July 2011, we have introduced several new developments and have a further seven set to launch in the coming months, including three in northwest England.”

Unit sales in the housebuilding division increased by 26% from 509 in 2010/11 to 684 in 2011/12.   The division has sold out on nine sites, including the Earlspark development in Bieldside where property prices ranged from £750,000 to £1.2m.

The timber systems division has secured several large contracts in the last year including the 2014 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village, a student accommodation project in Bradford, and an Eco-village in Findhorn in the north of Scotland.

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