Muse reports positive first trading results

Rachael Tinniswood

Salford Quays-based Muse Developments has recorded profits of £4.2m in the five months since it was acquired by Morgan Sindell as Amec Developments.

Announcing its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2007, the urban regeneration arm of Morgan Sindall said it had grossed revenue of £26m. The division started 2008 with interests in 30 projects with a projected value of £2.6bn, of which Muse's share was £1.2bn.

Key schemes include a £350m office-led redevelopment of Manchester Victoria Station being undertaken with Network Rail and Manchester City Council. Muse is also the chosen development partner of Blackpool City Council and ReBlackpool for the £285m Talbot Gateway scheme in the town centre.

"Our prospects are good for the year ahead," said Matt Crompton, joint managing director of Muse Developments. "Demand from occupiers remains strong and we are ideally positioned to build on our existing joint venture partnerships and well placed to grow the portfolio alongside landowners looking for developers with the ability to deliver."

Overall, Morgan Sindall, which operates through five specialist divisions of fit-out, construction, infrastructure services, affordable housing and urban regeneration, reported a 41% rise in revenue to £2.1bn, and a 30% rise in profit before tax, to £62.1m.

The group's affordable housing division, Lovell, which has offices in Birkenhead and Altrincham, said it had been barely hit by the credit crunch, as open market sales represented only 30% of the division's revenue. Profits rose by 6% to £25.5m on revenue of £398m, with the focus on mixed tenure developments increasing margins for the eighth year in succession to 6.4%. The arm currently has a forward order book of £1.5bn.

Major housing projects in the North West include the redevelopment of Miles Platting through a £200m PFI regeneration programme in partnership with Manchester City Council and New East Manchester; The Way, a £75m, 550-home housing regeneration project in partnership with New East Manchester, Northern Counties Housing Association and Great Places Housing Group in East Manchester, and a £40m scheme in the Housing Market Renewal area of Rock Ferry, Wirral.

Construction arm Morgan Ashurst, which has offices in Salford Quays, Manchester, and Liverpool, changed its name from Bluestone last year following the acquisition and integration of Amec plc's national construction business Design and Project Services (DPS).

Morgan Ashurst reported organic revenue (excluding revenue from the acquired DPS business) for 2007 at £445m, up 30% from £343m in 2006. Total Morgan Ashurst revenue increased this year by 81% to £621m.


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