Property market uncertainty fails to prevent ‘successful year’ for Henry Boot
Property and construction group Henry Boot has hailed a “successful year” despite market and a one-off pension contribution.
In a trading update the group said its Henry Boot Developments, the firm behind Aberdeen’s new £333 million event complex, was affected by “challenging” trading conditions, with the Brexit negotiations increasing the level of uncertainty in the UK property market.
This led to prospective developments being held back by a combination of client uncertainty or planning delays, which affected the timing of starts on site at certain projects.
Activity in the company’s construction segment “held up well” and Henry Boot Construction started this year with a strong committed order book and is expected to agree a number of contracts in the first half of 2019. Banner Plant and Road Link A69 also both performed in line with management expectations.
The group’s Hallam Land Management business “performed exceptionally well”, while its jointly-owned house builder, Stonebridge Homes, achieved 145 sales, up from 79 in 2017, producing turnover of £35m.
Its real estate-focused activities had traded in line expectations for the year ended 31 December 2018, after a £1.5m pension provision that is set to be included in the profit figure for the year.
John Sutcliffe, chief executive of Henry Boot plc, said: “2018 proved to be another successful year for Henry Boot. It is always difficult to finalise deals or new developments in a specific financial period and, as noted above, three commercial developments anticipated to start during 2018 will now commence in 2019, and one sale expected to complete in 2018 completed on the 4th January 2019.
“Although we remain mindful of some uncertainty in the UK real estate market, these transactions, added to the already committed and contracted activity for 2019, give us a good start to the year.”
The Event Complex Aberdeen, the replacement for the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), is progressing well and on track for completion by the middle of this year.