St Modwen returns to profit

St Modwen said it has made significant progress on projects within the North West, following an announcement of its annual financial results covering the 12 months to 30 November 2010.

The developer said profit before tax increased to £37.5m, compared to a loss of £119.4m in 2009.

Property profits increased to £21.9m from £7.6m in 2009 and valuation gains of £23m against a loss of £122m in the previous year helped the recovery.

Speaking about the company's projects in the region, Michelle Taylor, North West regional director for St Modwen, said strong partnerships with the public sector and the resilience of its schemes helped the company make "significant progress".

Taylor said: "Our new £15m district centre at Connah's Quay in North Wales opened its doors at the end of 2010, creating 300 jobs within a new Morrisons food store and a range of other national and regional retailers. Work on-site at Etrop Court in Wythenshawe continued to progress well and this office and retail development is on target for completion in June 2011.

"Construction work also began at Venture Fields, our £10m leisure development at Widnes Waterfront. The scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with Halton Council, is virtually fully let and on course to welcome its first visitors in the autumn."

Taylor was also positive for the year ahead and anticipates a number of key schemes being brought further forward.

She added: "The £150m community-led regeneration of Great Homer Street has made solid progress, with the Compulsory Purchase Order process now well underway. Sainsbury's commitment to operate Liverpool's largest food store, and the dedication of our partners Liverpool City Council, means Project Jennifer continues to move forward on its own merits.

"At Skelmersdale I am pleased to confirm that we are working closely with Co-operative Financial Services to secure a circa 100,000 sq ft office facility within the heart of our proposals for a re-vamped town centre.

"The transaction will see a bespoke new facility, on a landmark site, that will secure approximately 900 jobs in the town. We anticipate that formal agreement will be entered into this spring and that work on site will commence within the next 12 months.

"St Modwen and our partners West Lancashire Borough Council and the Homes & Communities Agency are developing proposals for the wider redevelopment of Skelmersdale town centre and look forward to announcing more details in the future."

Following the announcement of the developer's financial results, Bill Oliver, chief executive, said: "We have a strong balance sheet and a landbank that is full of latent value. Our development pipeline for 2011 and beyond is strengthening and a number of significant schemes are being marshalled for delivery in future years.

"Our asset management capability is proving invaluable in maintaining occupancy and rent levels, and we are confident that we will be able to continue with the positive progress in this area that we have demonstrated in the past two years.

"As a result, we believe that we are well positioned to deliver profit and net asset value growth in 2011, despite the ongoing uncertain market conditions."

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