Oglesby ‘optimistic’ after strong year for Bruntwood

Bruntwood has filed its latest set of accounts for the financial year ending September 2013; pre-tax profit rose 42% to £16.8m after occupancy levels improved on the back of 500,000 sq ft of deals.

The profit figure came before exceptional charges relating to the company's successful £600m refinance during the year.

Bruntwood said it invested £14.6m on refurbishment of its stock during the year, which helped to attract and retain customers. Occupancy also increased at Manchester Science Park to more than 90% since the family run firm acquired a controlling stake in 2012.

Bruntwood's net worth fell slightly to £286.4m, down 5% from 2012, due to the timing of its valuations, a difference which the company feels has already been made up given momentum in the investment market since its September 2013 year end.

The group's entire debt, which at year end stood at £587m, was refinanced, including a five year £221m medium term facility with HSBC, RBS, Barclays and Santander and a £120m ten-year facility with Legal & General, only their second ever property loan. The company also diversified its funding base with a seven-year £50m retail bond, leaving the business in a strong position to focus on growth.

Chris Oglesby, chief executive, said: "Refinancing around £600m of debt, secured by property valuations right at the bottom of the cycle, has been a significant achievement that enables us to focus on the future. Whilst this recession has been tough, our major regional cities emerge stronger from it and I am more optimistic about their future than I have been at any other time. We are very well positioned to capitalise on the strength of these markets; as well as the major projects we have planned, we will continue to strengthen our strategic partnerships and look to develop new relationships, ensuring that after a few years of reduced development activity 2014 will be our busiest year ever."

Projects already outlined for Bruntwood in 2014 include; in Manchester the redevelopment of 80,000 sq ft on Deansgate at Overseas House and Elliot House, 100,000 sq ft at Citylabs, a new executive education facility and hotel at Manchester Business School and a new 50,000 sq ft hub at MSP. In Leeds: 120,000 sq ft at City House. In Birmingham: the completion of the 200,000 sq ft at Centre City and, in Liverpool, the conversion of Queens Insurance Buildings to a boutique hotel.

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