Monday, March 31, 2014

News: Waverley sales exceed expectations


Harworth Estates, the company created to realise the property assets of what was UK Coal, has helped Coalfield Resources post a profit of £12.9m before tax for the year ended 28 December 2013.

Recovery plans for Doncaster-based UK Coal were put in place in May 2011 following big losses and a large pension deficit. Following a serious fire at one of its mines, administrators were called in to save the mining division, with the remaining focus of the new company targeting the realisation of its property assets through the Harworth Estates Property Group Limited.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, Harworth Estates is one of the largest landowners in the UK with access to over 30,000 acres of land.

In its annual report, Coalfield Resources, which owns 24.9 per cent of Harworth Estates, reported that the brownfield developer has performed strongly in its first year of trading as an independent property development company. Net assets increased to £235m from £222m in 2012 on a property portfolio value of £278m (2012 - £260m).

A return of £33m was delivered on the opening property portfolio of £260m, with £24.5m from increases in valuation at year end, £8.3m by way of profit on its £19m of asset sales in the year, and £1.4m from operating activities.

The Waverley development in Rotherham is the biggest brownfield site development in South Yorkshire and covers 741 acres, an area bigger than Sheffield city centre.

Over a development phase of 20 years, the site will see the establishment of a new community of around 4,000 homes, shops, restaurants, schools, leisure facilities, health and community centres and parks. It is also home to the AMP, the UK's premier advanced manufacturing technology park.

The report revealed that Harworth has benefited from a recovery of interest in the property sector and has sold further land to housebuilders at Waverley, enough for 238 houses, and that "sales to date have exceeded management's expectations." Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Homes and Harron Homes began work on the first 250 homes in 2012.

Harworth will release further parcels of land for later development phases and the 500th home at Waverley will be built by the end of 2014, accompanied by new road infrastructure and community facilities.

Other highlights in the year at Waverley include Harworth being provisionally awarded over £10m in government infrastructure funding that would enable around 1.2m sq ft of employment floorspace. It plans to use it to provide essential utility infrastructure such as new roads and a water and waste water pipe network.

Harworth is also set to receive a slice of the government's Local Infrastructure Fund to accelerate the housing development on the Waverley site.

After the end of reporting period, a funding deal with Rotherham Council was finalised to enable construction to begin on the R-evolution industrial development on the AMP.

Jonson Cox, chairman of Coalfield Resources, said: "Harworth Estates had a strong first year of trading as an independent property development company, generating a net 6% increase in net asset value to £235m, repaying £22m of its inherited bank debt and investing £10m in its land assets.

"While we are aware of the challenges inherent in moving forward from our mining heritage, the Board of Coalfield Resources remains confident of the ability of Harworth Estates to deliver and grow shareholder value."

Harworth Estates website

Images: Harworth Estates


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