Friday, March 17, 2017

News: Harworth raises £27.8m for acquisitions

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Rotherham-based Harworth Group, one of the largest property and regeneration companies across the North of England and the Midlands, has announced that it has raised £27.8m to accelerate growth of strategic land bank.

The specialist in brownfield regeneration, which was created through the complex restructure of what was UK Coal, said that it has conditionally raised £27.8m (before expenses) by placing 29,226,974 new ordinary shares of 10 pence each at a price of 95 pence per placing share.

The group, which is based close to its own flagship development at Waverley, said that the net proceeds of the placing will primarily be used to accelerate the continued expansion of the company's strategic land bank.

The core strategy for the listed firm is to grow and realise value from its extensive land bank, much of which derives from heritage coalfield portfolio, supplemented by a range of land and property acquisitions in the North and Midlands.

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Six acquisitions were completed during 2016, for a total of £31.6m and four further option agreements have been entered into to acquire strategic land sites that extend to approximately 228 acres, comprising a mixture of potential residential and commercial sites located in core regions.

The masterplans for the unnamed sites are expected to deliver in aggregate over 1,500 residential plots and 600,000 sq ft of new commercial space, requiring approximately £19.2m to exercise the options and fund the first three years of expenditure on planning, remediation and infrastructure works, and further site assembly.

Four further potential strategic land opportunities are in negotiation, to acquire in aggregate up to 407 acres of strategic land for both residential and commercial development, requiring approximately £15.5m of investment.

Owen Michaelson, chief executive at Harworth Group plc, said: "An important part of our strategy is to replenish our land and property portfolio, both by securing new recurring income streams and to grow and expand our strategic land bank, which is fundamental to us continuing to deliver value to our shareholders.

"While we have made good progress in the past two years in securing valuable acquisition opportunities, today's placing enables us to accelerate our acquisition strategy through the funding of the purchase of, and investment in, further sites to support the long term growth prospects of the business."

For the year ending December 31 2016, Harworth saw operating profit hit £45.8m, compared to £37.9m at the same time last year. Profit from operations was up to £2.2m from the £1.5m posted in 2015.

Completing the first four deals would see the strategic land bank increase to approximately 2,750 acres, including 10,429 consented residential plots and approximately 10.4 million consented sq ft of commercial space.

Harworth Group website

Images: Harworth Group


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