Saturn Park Knowsley Min
The 416,000 sq ft Saturn Park in Knowsley was Harworth's biggest buy of 2020

‘Resilient’ Harworth rallies to profit

Neil Tague

In its preliminary full year results for 2020, the developer reported a pre-tax profit of £33.4m as it awaits a verdict on plans for 1.1m sq ft of industrial space at Wingates, Bolton.

Harworth, which last year started on the last unit of 51,000 sq ft at its successful 250-acre Logistics North scheme, had reported a pre-tax loss for the first half of the year ue to valuation adjustments in a cautious market.

However, the second half of the year saw operating profit climb to £27.8m, a 14% year-on-year increase, as Harworth reported revenue from capital growth of £49.6m following the completion of a raft of planned sales of serviced land totalling 92.7 acres, “all ahead of or in line with 2019 book values”.

The firm also disposed of 2,335 acres of non-core land. Vacancy across Harworth’s industrial portfolio remains at lower than 5%.

Consents are in place for 1.1m sq ft of industrial development and 300 residential ployts, while the business is awaiting determination of 1.3m sq ft of industrial space and 2,500 residential plots.

In January, Harworth as master developer and landowner, selected housebuilder Taylor Wimpey to deliver the 250-home fitrst phase of the Moss Nook resiential sheme in St Helens, its first housing project in the North West.

The Yorkshire-headquartered firm’s largest acquisition of 2021 was also in the Liverpool city region, with the £26m purchase of the Saturn industrial park in Knowsley completing in November.

Lynda Shillaw, the former boss of Manchester Airport Group Developments, was appointed as chief executive in November, replacing the outgoing Owen Michaelson. She said the results have her confidence in the “strength and resilience of our underlying business” amid the pandemic.

Shillaw continued: “During 2020 we again benefitted from the expertise of our specialist and highly experienced teams, a long track-record of building and developing a high quality strategic landbank, and an unrivalled focus on creating places where people want to live and work.

“Demand for our serviced land has remained strong and we continue to see this in the first few months of 2021 as we also make progress across the portfolio and explore potential acquisitions.

“Together with our strong balance sheet and opportunities in our core residential and logistics sectors, we are very well-placed to trade successfully through the pandemic and play a key role in delivering the infrastructure the country needs for regional economic recovery and long-term growth.”

Harworth said that it expects a verdict soon on its Wingates proposal, one of several large-scale North West industrial sites called in for inquiry over the last year. The site sits in the Westhoughton green belt.

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