Northern Trust hunts distressed land as profits rise

Property tycoon Trevor Hemmings' Chorley-based development and investment giant Northern Trust said it was actively seeking land deals to expand its 8m sq ft portfolio.

Northern reported turnover of £56.2m in the year to the end of March 2008, down by £3.2m on the previous year. Operating profit increased by £6.2m to £34.2m and pre-tax profit also rose by £4.7m to £21.3m. The market value of investment properties fell by £29.6m to £425.3m due to shifts in the valuation yields applied. The net assets of the company now stand at £248.0m.

The company said in a statement: "Following a successful 2008 with the completion of developments at Telford, Blackburn, Warrington and Durham, Northern Trust is optimistic that 2009 will provide an increase in investment opportunities for the group; with the company already having completed a small strategic acquisition in Cumbria for £3.2m.

"Northern Trust is now well positioned to take advantage of the current attractive values and will be actively seeking suitable acquisitions in 2009."

The group said it had recently increased and extended its banking facilities and "is now ideally positioned to take advantage of the current distressed market place throughout the UK within all markets sectors."

The acquisition trail will be helped by the recent recruitment of Mike Riding from Harrow Estates, Redrow founder Steve Morgan's property company, as land director.

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