Henry Boot thrives despite snowfall

Construction and property firm Henry Boot '‹said it has traded well in the first five months of 2018 despite the disruption caused by the Beast from the East snowfall.

Henry Boot has completed all the sales at the main building of the Chocolate Factory

The Sheffield-based firm, which has seen unprecedented demand for luxury apartments at the former Terry's Chocolate Factory in York​, will tell shareholders at its AGM ​that it expects 2018 trading to be in line with expectations.

​Chairman Jamie Boot will tell investors: "​The group’s land promotion and property investment and development business segments traded well during the first five months of this year.

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"Despite the poor weather conditions experienced earlier this year, the financial performance of our construction and plant hire businesses remain in line with our expectations."

The firm said Hallam Land has a strong pipeline of sales opportunities which are expected to conclude in the remainder of 2018, although - as is always the case - there is some uncertainty with regard to the timing of these deals within a particular financial period.

​Mr Boot will tell shareholders: ​"Given the good start we have made in 2018, and anticipating no major changes to the underlying UK economic conditions, we expect the ​g​roup’s performance for the current financial year ending December ​31​ to be in-line with the ​b​oard’s expectations.

The firm has completed all the sales at the main building of the Chocolate Factory, way ahead of its original deadline of mid-2019.

The group is now focused on getting the iconic clock at the top of tower ticking again and plans to achieve this in the next 12 to 18 months. It is also close to getting planning permission for another 22 units in the Clocktower and has plans to develop the buildings at the bottom of the tower.

The factory, which was built in an Art Deco style with a distinctive clock tower, opened in 1926. The site developed and produced famous products such as Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Terry’s All Gold.

However, the factory closed in 2005 with the loss of 300 jobs after parent company Kraft Foods decided to switch production abroad. Following closure the site fell into disrepair and in 2009, it was put on the at-risk register by English Heritage.

Today the site, which is adjacent to York Racecourse, has 236,806 square feet of iconic listed buildings plus cleared development land.

The award winning development is seen as an outstanding example of Yorkshire regeneration and Henry Boot has been overwhelmed by demand from buyers.

​Mr Boot will tell shareholders that​ Hallam Land Management, ​the group's​ strategic land business, has made a particularly solid start to the year, with the timing of transactions expected to complete this financial year currently ahead of expectation.

The group has concluded land sales totalling over 1,841 plots on 12 sites. In addition, ​it has unconditionally exchanged on two further sites and ​is​ in detailed discussions regarding the sales of a further 15 schemes which are expected to complete later in 2018 and 2019.