Wednesday, May 24, 2017

News: Harworth Group looks for new chair

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Jonson Cox, the man who lead UK Coal plc through its 2012 complex restructuring, is set to step down from his role as non-executive chairman at Harworth Group plc next year.

Cox, who has held roles at the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Kelda Group plc and Anglian Water Group plc, announced his intention to stand down in 2018 before the group's AGM. Scheduled to take place at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham this morning, the meeting will be last time he will stand for election.

Recovery plans for UK Coal were put in place in May 2011 after they reported a pre-tax loss of £124.6m after a "further year of poor operational performance." The restructure created two separate businesses comprising the mining division and property division.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, the company, renamed Coalfield Resources plc, saw administrators called in for its struggling mining division, and a deal followed for it to completely acquire the property division for £150m. It is Harworth Group plc that remains trading on the stock market as one of the largest property and regeneration companies across the North of England and the Midlands.

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Lisa Clement, senior independent director at Harworth Group plc, said: "Jonson has served Harworth for seven years. These seven years have seen Harworth, or UK Coal plc as it was then known, evolve from a near-insolvent, over leveraged mining business with a capital constrained and non-performing property portfolio to a successful, ambitious and growing property company, delivering an annual double-digit return over the past four years.

"On behalf of the Board and all of our employees, I thank Jonson enormously for his significant contribution to the Company and leadership during this time."

The group, which is based close to its own flagship development at Waverley and owns and manages a portfolio of approximately 22,000 acres of land over 140 sites, said that the process to identify a suitable successor is underway. It is also expected to use the AGM to report that it continues to make strong progress in the first five months of 2017.

In March, the specialist in brownfield regeneration, raised £27.8m to accelerate growth of strategic land bank. It has created a number of joint ventures to bring forward development on its own land and is pursuing option agreements to acquire strategic land sites.

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.

Harworth Group website

Images: Harworth Group


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