Aerial CGI of Wirral Waters

Robust results for Peel’s property and investment arm

Simon Binns

The land, property and investment arm of Peel Holdings defied the choppy property market to post a healthy set of accounts for the year to 31 March 2011.

Peel Holdings (Land and Property) recorded an operating profit for the year of £55.2m (2010: £58.4m) on turnover of £97.4m (2010: 92.8m).

The firm's net asset value dipped slightly to £640m (2010: £666m) as it continued plans to progress several large, high value schemes across the UK, including Liverpool and Wirral Waters and its £50bn Ocean Gateway schemes in the North West.

Overall, the group controls 20,000 acres of land. The investment arm of the business provided a rent roll of £64.2m (2010: £66.7m).

Although the sale of properties in Blackburn and Glasgow knocked £3m off the group's income, it also helped raise investment sales totalling £65m (2010: £4.1m).

The group reduced the amount of empty space on its books by more than 275,000 sq ft, to stand at 700,000 sq ft, which costs the business £4m (2010: £5m).

It said that around half the space was industrial property in and around Liverpool and Glasgow, which was being held for redevelopment.

Peel also sold land worth £18.6m during the year although it said the land investment and sales market remained 'flat', as housebuilders continued to be cautious.

The situation may be improving, however, and the notes to accounts reveal that Peel is in discussions with Barratt for the development of 1,000 family homes.

Peel has also set aside seven sites across 70 acres for housebuilding, worth another 1,000 homes. Across the rest of the group, Peel's advertising arm brought in £3.1m (2010: £3.4m); its utilities division made a £1m profit (2010: £0.4m) and its environmental business generated a profit of £900,000 (2010: £1.8m).

The group carried out two refinancing exercises during the year – worth more than £450m but which saw an increase in interest charges of £13m to £79m for the year. During the year, the group awarded a salary package of £369,000 to its highest paid director and donated £17,000 to charity.

This story first appeared on our sister site Manchester Confidential.

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