St Modwen progresses North West projects as profits rise

Birchwood-based national developer St Modwen has posted a 91% increase in its pre-tax profits, up from £135.4m in 2014 to £258.4m in 2015.

The increase was attributed to an £201.7m valuation increase in its £1.7bn portfolio. St Modwen’s £127m share in the 500,000 sq ft New Covent Garden Market scheme in London, which it is delivering in a joint venture with Vinci, was a major contributor.

However, in a statement on the results, the developer also listed a string of North West projects which it had progressed over the past year.

Highlights included the acquisition of Kirkby Town Centre for £35.8m and Moorgate Point for £10m; a start on site for the roadworks around its long-running Project Jennifer scheme in North Liverpool, anchored by Sainsbury’s; the redevelopment of the old Vulcan works in Newton-le-Willows, St Helens, anchored by an Aldi store; and planning permission for a 100,000 sq ft retail and leisure scheme in Skelmersdale.

Total dividend for the year increased by 25% to 5.75p per share, compared to 4.6p per share in 2014.

Steven Knowles, North West regional director at St Modwen, said: “This has been a year of growth for the North West region. We have added value to our development pipeline through new acquisitions and increased net rental income across our retained properties that generate recurring revenue for the business.

“We have completed a number of strategic acquisitions including Moorgate Point in Knowsley and Kirkby Town Centre in Merseyside and will continue to invest in new assets and income producing sites over the next 12 months.

“We have also taken advantage of strong investor interest during the year and disposed of a well-let chemical and manufacturing facility in Eccles to Friends Life for £8.27m.

“As a result of our robust asset management skills, we have increased our rent roll to in excess of £14m per annum. We have secured 97 new leases across the region with 273 new occupiers to our properties.

“The group’s commercial development pipeline stands at 1.6m sq ft, amongst which includes the Great Homer Street scheme in Liverpool which is progressing well with Sainsbury’s and 80,000 sq ft of associated retail units, due to open in spring 2017. We have also secured planning consent for a retail and leisure scheme in Skelmersdale Town Centre and the anchor leisure tenant, Reel Cinemas has committed to a 15-year lease.

“Furthermore, we have completed construction of a 69,000 sq ft distribution centre for DPD at our Stonebridge site in Liverpool, one of three such facilities that St Modwen is delivering across the UK for this express delivery firm and which we have subsequently sold.

“There is a continued positive outlook for residential land in the region and this is echoed by the planning approval for the redevelopment of a 29-acre site in Ellesmere Port into a scheme of 350 homes, substantial areas of public open space and improved links to the railway station and town centre.”

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