Morgan Sindall profits up

The diverse company which includes fit-out firm Overbury, developer Muse, social housebuilder Lovell, and a construction arm, has posted a 1,200% increase in pre-tax profit compared to 2013.

In the half-year report for the six months ending 30 June 2014, pre-tax profit was up from £1m in the 2013 half year to £13m in 2014. Basic earnings for each share were up from 5.4p to 26.5p.

Turnover was down slightly from £1.02bn in 2013 to £998m in 2014, but net debt for the group was also down from £32m to £6m.

The lower 2013 profit figures were due to one-off payments of a £1.2m intangible amortisation and exceptional operating items of £13m.

Morgan Sindall said that its order book was up 14% to £1.7bn since the year end, with a £3.2bn pipeline of regeneration activity. The company also said that it had seen improved margin performance in fit out, but expected continued margin pressure in construction, infrastructure and affordable housing likely to continue into the second half of the year.

John Morgan, chief executive of Morgan Sindall, said: "The first half has seen an important shift in the balance of our profits, with an increase in the contribution from the urban regeneration business. This trend is expected to continue into the second half and beyond and reinforces our long-term strategy of focusing on both construction and regeneration activities.

"We are encouraged by the improvement in the quality of our order book reflecting the higher level of activity in the market, which positions us well for the medium to long term."

Projects for the construction division include the £15m St Hilda's School in Sefton Park in Liverpool, and an £8m development at Liverpool Science Park. The company is also on site at Manchester Victoria Train Station and is refurbishing Oldham Old Town Hall.

Muse Developments currently has multi-million pound developments underway at Chapel Street and New Bailey in Salford and Talbot Gateway in Blackpool, alongside a 7.5-acre commercial development at City Place in Chester.

The Morgan Sindall share price remained stable this morning at 789p.

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They massacred the workforce to achieve this. Sarting from 2009 they had wave after wave of redundancies. Amongst the few sorry souls that are left, morale is abysmal.

By Bixt