Pochin’s sees ‘few signs of encouragement’

Diverse Cheshire-based development and construction business Pochin's today delivered a brief trading statement to the London Stock Exchange.

The statement covered the period from 26 January 2010 to date. Pochin's said the group "continues to perform creditably in difficult trading conditions."

The construction division is on target for turnover and profit but winning business at acceptable margins remains a challenge.

The concrete pumping business is still suffering from overcapacity in its market and remains loss making. Further cost saving measures have been taken, the statement added.

On the development side, the recent improvement in commercial property values has helped and rental income continues to hold up well.

The group updated on efforts to exit costly joint ventures where empty space is dragging down values. "Negotiations are under way to resolve the most damaging of these and to limit the Group's exposure to future expense of this nature."

The residential business has welcomed work for local housing associations, which is offsetting the cost of "supervising the ongoing controlled disposal of the group's residential land and built stock".

The statement concluded: "There are few signs of encouragement in the construction and property markets in which the group operates, other than a slight rebound in commercial property values. Previously reported concerns remain with regard to over capacity in the concrete pumping sector and the ongoing empty property costs in the joint ventures, but vigorous efforts are being made to contain the effects of these difficulties."

Shares in Pochin's were down 2p at 85p, valuing the business at £18.1m.

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