Occupier deals keep Pochin’s in profit

Cheshire-based construction and development group Pochin's managed to report a profit for the year to the end of May after a flurry of deals shored up an otherwise tough year.

Pochin's posted pre-tax profit of £2.3m, down sharply from £9.0m in 2007, on a flat turnover of £115m.

Profits were helped by the disposal of land for a Tesco supermarket at Ellesmere, Shropshire, and the exchange of contracts for the £12m sale by Manchester Technopark, a joint venture with Manchester Science Park, of Reynolds House.

Liverpool's Horton House, the first phase of the office joint venture with UK Land & Property at Exchange Flags, is 80% let and the £15m second phase, Walker House, of 220,000 sq ft is on site with Pochin's contracting division. Fit out for the Ministry of Defence, anchor tenant of Walker, begins in October.

The group's investment portfolio is 93% let with an annual rental income of £3.8m.

"In these troubled circumstances, Pochin's has performed creditably during the year," said chairman Richard Fildes. "The property division has again made the main contribution before making necessary provisions in the prevailing market conditions."

He added: "A reorganisation of the contracting division was carried out during the year. Taking the cost of this into account, its performance was acceptable. Turnover was maintained, and the re-invigorated management team is now winning valuable new business despite the increasingly competitive environment for contracting."

Construction services and residential divisions both had difficult years, though Fildes said the former was recovering and the continuing losses of the latter "are containable."

On the deals side, industrial units at Valley Court and office units at Verity Court, both on Midpoint 18 Business Park in Middlewich, have been sold to Lincoln House Properties.

A joint venture with Castlewood Developments in Birkenhead continues with a 95,000 sq ft foodstore in the town centre pre-let to Asda, subject to successful Compulsory Purchase Orders.

Pochin's will pay a final dividend of 3.0p, the same as the interim dividend. Shares in the company were down 20p at 115p.

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