Tuesday, September 11, 2018

News: Strong first half for Harworth


Rotherham-based regeneration specialists Harworth Group plc has announced strong financial results for the first half of 2018 as it heads to a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

One of South Yorkshire's largest publicly listed companies and created through the complex restructure of what was UK Coal, Harworth is a specialist in brownfield regeneration. It is one of the largest property and regeneration companies working in the North of England and the Midlands.

The firm, which is based close to its own Waverley development (pictured), has reported its interim results for the half year ended June 30 2018.

The main metric for measuring the company's progress is EPRA net asset value (EPRA NAV) which provides a fair value of all the assets and liabilities.

The group reported a positive six months resulting in double-digit EPRA NNNAV growth over the last twelve months, up 10.9%, but slightly less than the 13.8% growth seen at the end of the first half of 2017.

Operating profit before exceptional items was £6.6m, down from £8.8m in the same period last year. Adding in profit from joint ventures, this was bumped up to £8.9m.

The focus continues to be on "beds and sheds" sectors and Harworth owns and manages a £400m+ portfolio of around 21,000 acres of land on around 135 sites.

80% of the value gains seen in the first half came from active management rather than market movements. This includes securing planning consents on major schemes; preparing land for redevelopment; and selling land for house building or carrying out commercial development.


By the end of the period, the total number of consented residential plots in Harworth's portfolio was 10,638, up from 9,171 after the first half of 2107, alongside 12.13m sq ft of consented employment space (10.9m sq ft in 2017). When combined with land within its identified planning pipeline, Harworth said that it could potentially deliver a total of 20,416 residential plots alongside 22.4m sq ft of new commercial space.

Owen Michaelson, chief executive of Harworth Group plc, said: "We have had another strong first half across all of our key business areas. Significant progress has been made in replenishing our strategic land portfolio and improving the breadth and depth of our income, with £50m worth of acquisitions in the first half. Demand for consented land in sought after locations has also resulted in over 90% of our forecast full year residential and commercial land sales being now either completed, exchanged or in legals.

"Our performance remains weighted towards the second half such that we anticipate delivering full-year results in line with the Board's expectations.

"The economic potential of the Northern and Midlands regions in which we operate remains attractive and the long-term market fundamentals supporting residential and commercial development are favourable."

The company said that it is investing in a regional structure with increased local presence in the Midlands and the North West to drive growth and to source more acquisitions. This is backed by a revolving credit facility that has increased by £25m to £100m.

The focus is set to be on purchasing major brownfield sites and potential urban extensions from corporates, administrators and the public sector; securing options ideally on medium to long term development opportunities or on adjacent land; and agreeing Planning Promotion Agreements (PPAs) to share in the value of successful regeneration projects.

As reported by Rothbiz in June, the plc has been preparing to transfer to a premium listing on the LSE in a bid to boost its profile and attract new investors. The latest update states that it expects to join the indices on September 24 2018.

Harworth Group website

Images: Harworth


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