Harworth raises funds from shareholders to add to land bank

The developer has raised £27.8m by issuing new shares to “accelerate continued expansion of its strategic land bank” including identified sites in the North West.

Harworth, a listed company linked to Peel and with assets in the Peel Logistics portfolio, grew out of UK Coal and is developing the Logistics North scheme on the former Cutacre opencast mine in Bolton.

Around £20m of the proceeds from the placing of 29m shares at 95p a share will be used to fund completion of four deals with landowners to acquire 200 acres, as well as planning consultancy fees and preparatory works. The combined masterplans for the four sites are expected to deliver in aggregate over 1,500 residential plots and 600,000 sq ft of commercial space.

The sites to be acquired are:

Bewshill Farm, Bolton, 12-acre site with potential to deliver 150,000 sq ft of direct development space as an extension of Logistics North

St Helens, Merseyside A 60-acre cleared brownfield development site with outline planning permission in place for 900 residential plots. An application has already been made for grant funding to finance infrastructure works in order to deliver the opportunity for serviced land sales from 2018. There has already been interest in the site housebuilders

Garden village site, Derbyshire, 90 acres for 675 units, part of a wider development encompassing a former surface mine, coking works and agricultural land

Chatterley Valley, Stoke An option to acquire 24 acres adjacent to an existing Harworth site. This site is part of a Government Enterprise Zone with planning consent for 860,000 sq ft of commercial space

Harworth said four further potential strategic land opportunities were in negotiation, to acquire up to 407 acres for residential and commercial development, requiring a further £15.5m.

Owen Michaelson, Harworth chief executive, commented: “An important part of our strategy is to replenish our land and property portfolio, both by securing new recurring income streams and to grow and expand our strategic land bank, which is fundamental to us continuing to deliver value to our shareholders. While we have made good progress in the past two years in securing valuable acquisition opportunities, today’s Placing enables us to accelerate our acquisition strategy through the funding of the purchase of, and investment in, further sites to support the long term growth prospects of the business.”

Harworth’s portfolio contains 22,000 acres over 140 sites, not all developable. A programme of disposing of non-core sites is ongoing. Its core markets are the North of England and the Midlands.

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