New Victoria Office Building, Muse Developments And Morgan Capital, P Muse
New Victoria is being developed by group business Muse

Morgan Sindall rides high with half-year results

Neil Tague

The property business has reported pre-tax profit of £53.1m, with turnover and net cash also seeing healthy increases in the first six months of 2021.

Morgan Sindall, which includes Muse Developments, fit-out arm Overbury and housing business Lovell Partnerships along with eponymous construction, investment and property services businesses, said that pre-tax profit was up by 286% on the first half of Covid-hit 2020, but also 46% up on H1 2019’s figure.

Sales across the business reached £1.5bn, up 14% year-on-year and 10% on the 2019 figure, while net cash has more than doubled since this time last year, up from £146m to £337m.

A dividend of 30p per share is to be paid.

Chief executive John Morgan said: “We’ve had a very strong first half in which we’ve upgraded our profit guidance three times. We continue to make significant operational and strategic progress across the Group.

“With such positive momentum across all our activities, I am excited by the opportunities ahead. As ever, we are extremely focused on our cash generation and cash position.

“Maintaining a strong balance sheet including a substantial net cash position provides a significant competitive advantage for us. It enables us to continue making the right decisions for the business and to best position us in our markets for continued sustainable long-term growth.”

Muse hit milestones on a number of schemes, with 11 projects currently on site with a combined construction value of £514m, and a further 12 projects expected to start on site in the second half of the year.

Muse’s order book and forward development pipeline now stands at £2.8bn. A forward-funding deal was agreed at Manchester’s New Victoria last year, while work has started at Four New Bailey, where a 175,000 sq ft pre-let has been secured with BT.

New Bailey is part of the Central Salford masterplan being delivered by the English Cities Fund vehicle in partnership with Legal & General and Homes England.

Matt Crompton, managing director at Muse, said: “We continue 2021 working closely with our partners to regenerate our towns and cities, leading the way on sustainable, innovative and purposeful developments that will improve places, lives and communities for the future.”

Construction revenue climbed 17% to £339m, with infrastructure revenue dropping by 13% to £435m. The construction order book of £648m is up by 27% from the year end position.

Revenue, profit and margin increased across fit-out, with turnover up by 20% to £380m, as work from outside London grew to 46% of the division’s workload, from 20%. Turnover in the partnership housing division climbed by 53% year-on-year, to reach £270m.

By late morning today, Morgan Sindall’s share price had dropped by around 3% from an opening price of 2,470.00 pence.

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