Modwen eager to step up presence in region

St Modwen Properties said its Yorkshire portfolio is performing 'very well' and the company is seeking new opportunities in the region.

Richard Bannister of St Modwen
Richard Bannister of St Modwen

However, St Modwen also reported a slump in profits and warned that it is operating in a “period of uncertainty” as a result of Brexit.

The regeneration specialist said pre-tax profits for the first half of the year came in at £30m compared with £206m last year. The firm also booked a one-off £13m hit from the increase in stamp duty.

Revenue rose to £159.7m from £135.7m.

Chief executive Bill Oliver said: “Following the referendum held on June 23, we are now operating in a period of uncertainty in relation to many factors that impact the property market.

“Whilst it is too early to accurately predict how the UK property market will respond, until we have more clarity we believe it is appropriate to take a more cautious approach to the delivery of our development strategy.”

Richard Bannister, the Yorkshire and the North East Regional director, delivered a bullish assessment of the firm’s performance in Yorkshire and the North East, where its portfolio covers 400 acres and 20 schemes.

He added: “St. Modwen’s growing commitment to Doncaster is evidenced by our increased investment in the town. We have recently started work on the first phase of a major new 250,000 sq ft development at Parkside Business Park. Two new warehouses totalling almost 80,000 sq ft are expected to be completed in Autumn 2016 and have already attracted strong interest from potential occupiers.

“Work has also begun on the 10,000 sq ft Farmfoods store and Subway restaurant at Crompton Retail Park. Upon completion, the development will mark the successful regeneration of the 13-acre site, formerly occupied by Tyco Electronics.

“Our ongoing regeneration of Waterdale Shopping Centre continues as we progress work on the redevelopment of Young Street Car Park to deliver 22,000 sq ft of new and improved retail and leisure facilities.”

Mr Bannister said that the company’s income producing properties continue to add value to its portfolio of industrial and warehouse space.

He added: “Demand for our high quality, refurbished industrial units remains high across the region and we now have full occupancy at the majority of our industrial sites.

“The sale of Sandbeds Trading Estate in Ossett (West Yorkshire) in May demonstrated the strong investment market for this type of property in this region. We are actively seeking opportunities to re-invest.

“This strong base provides us the resource with which to strengthen our portfolio in the region and we will continue to seek new opportunities where we can add value throughout the second half of the year and beyond.”

St Modwen also revealed that work on the first two buildings of a major new 250,000 sq ft commercial development at Parkside Business Park in Doncaster is underway, with the completion of the main steel framework.

Rob Richardson, development manager at St. Modwen, said: “This is a significant speculative development undertaken without any Government or European funding and reinforces our confidence in Doncaster.”