Strong Scottish contribution boosts Henry Boot order book



How the completed AECC will look
How the completed AECC will look

Property and construction firm Henry Boot has credited its Scottish operations for contributing to a 9% jump in profits.

The Sheffield-based group, which is involved the replacement for the ageing Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), reported significantly higher first-half revenues and an 8.7% rise in pre-tax profits to £22.6 million.

Chief executive John Sutcliffe said the momentum had continued into the second half of the year with “high levels of activity” across its operations.

He told investors: “Whilst we remain mindful of a continued degree of economic and political uncertainty, sentiment amongst our customers and clients remains positive and we have a strong pipeline of profitable opportunities.

“The group continues to trade well and in line with the board’s expectations for the full year.”

The group hailed a strong contribution from its property investment and development division, with major schemes in Scotland helping to underpin growth.

The £333m Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, which is the largest development project currently being undertaken by the group, is progressing well and remains on budget. This first phase of a larger, longer term development, which is fully funded by Aberdeen City Council, is on schedule to be completed by mid-2019.

Elsewhere in Scotland, the 43,000 sq ft retail warehouse development in Livingston, pre-let to Dunelm and B&M Retail, completed in the period and this investment is now under offer to be sold in the second half of 2017.

The company has also partnered with West Dunbartonshire Council to revitalise an 8.5-acre site in Clydebank town centre for retail and leisure uses with a new town square.

Nick Harris, director of Henry Boot Developments in Scotland, said: “Our development business in Scotland is continuing to expand its operations. We are delighted to be involved in a number of partnerships with city councils to regenerate our urban spaces.

“Scotland remains one of the key target areas for our ongoing investment strategy over the coming years.”

Mr Sutcliffe added: “We are pleased to report another good performance in the first half against a strong comparative result in 2016, with further operational progress delivered across the group.”

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