Muse toasts ‘notable achievements’ across portfolio

Morgan Sindall Group, parent of affordable housebuilder Lovell, fit-out firm Overbury and developer Muse Developments, recorded a £15m loss in the year to the end of December 2015, but said progress was made securing new work across all divisions.

Exceptional items of £49m included a £47m loss on floating jetty and accommodation contracts for the Ministry of Defence at Faslane.

In the North West, Muse Developments reported progress on the restoration of the grade 2-listed landmark Mackie Mayor building on Swan Street in Manchester. The building has been derelict since the early 1990s. The group said the building “is expected to be of interest to a range of potential occupiers for leisure, retail or commercial use.”

Muse will shortly be submitting an application for the New Victoria scheme in Manchester, where it is planning to develop two residential buildings and an office building adjacent to Victoria Station.

In Salford, the English Cities Fund joint venture between Muse, Legal & General and the Homes & Communities Agency secured planning consent for a further private rented sector scheme at New Bailey, where 90 homes are currently under construction. Construction of One New Bailey, a 125,000 sq ft office development, will be completed in May this year, largely prelet to law firm Freshfields.

In Warrington, Muse, with Warrington Council and economic development agency Warrington & Co, secured a deal with cinema operator Cineworld to anchor a new leisure development as part of the 300,000 sq ft Bridge Street Quarter regeneration scheme.

Construction has started on the second phase of Stockport town centre’s £145m new gateway development, Stockport Exchange, which Muse is delivering with Stockport Council. The phase will include a 115-bed Holiday Inn Express, a 50,000 sq ft, five-storey office building with ground floor retail space and a new public area outside Stockport train station.

Muse secured planning consent in December for a mixed-use development, incorporating both residential and commercial development, on a 70-acre site at Basford East in Crewe.

In December, Muse completed One City Place, a six-storey office development next to Chester Railway Station forming part of the new £100m Central Business Quarter. The 70,000 sq ft of office space has been developed speculatively and represents the first of seven proposed office buildings.

In Conwy, North Wales, Muse has been appointed as Conwy Council’s preferred development partner for a scheme which will provide new civic offices in Conwy Bay town centre and the redevelopment of an existing listed building.

The group’s adjusted operating profit was up 34% to £38.8m (2014: £28.9m) on revenues of £2.4bn, up 7% on the previous year (2014: £2.2bn). This was driven by 20% revenue growth in fit-out and 5% in construction and infrastructure.

Adjusted earnings per share were up 35% on last year at 63.0p (2014: 46.7p). The dividend for the year is 29.0p, up from 2014’s 27.0p per share.

Mike Horner, regional director for the North West at Muse Developments, said: “2015 was another positive year for Muse in the North West. We’ve continued to work closely with our partners, particularly in the public sector, and we are on site delivering high-quality, sustainable and pioneering mixed-use regeneration schemes across the region.

“We saw a number of notable achievements, including major development activity at New Bailey and Chapel Street in Salford, work starting on the second phase of Stockport Exchange and Warrington’s Bridge Street Quarter scheme now underway. Work is now complete on the first main office building at Chester’s City Place and a major planning approval for residential and commercial development was secured on 70 acres at Basford East, Crewe.

“We are also delighted to take on our first scheme in Wales after being appointed as preferred development partner by Conwy Council for a development in Colwyn Bay town centre.”

Shares in Morgan Sindall Group leapt 28p, or 4%, to 733p.

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