AMA reveals more losses despite sales tripling

HIGH-end property developer AMA saw sales almost triple to more than £17 million last year but continued to post losses after a write-off at a subsidiary company.

The rise in sales saw the Edinburgh-based company, run by the Iranian-born Afshar brothers and behind sites including the former Fountain Brewery site in the city, reduce its debts to below £50m. Strong cashflow helped it pay back more than £10m.

Director Ali Afshar said, had it not been for the revaluation of an asset in an associated company, the group would have moved into profit.

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“We believe that the performance has been very good and the results for the year have been well above the norm in the sector during what continues to be an extremely challenging market,” he said.

He added that, although margins were squeezed during the year, the company was confident it would improve and that the “future will be rosier”.

Progress during the year included work on the penultimate phase at the Springside development at Fountainbridge, which was completed ahead of schedule in February. AMA said that there had been “considerable interest” in the site.

Work at new developments was also started during the year, including the conversion of the former Marchmont School into flats, with forward sales already being achieved.

Turnover at AMA (New Town) rose to £17.02m from £5.9m in the year to 31 October. The company was in the black to the tune of £1.81m at the operating level but lost £313,157 at the pre-tax level, down from £1.75m the previous year.

Average sale price per property across the group rose to £409,638 from £343,001.

Strong operational cashflow and a reduction in stock levels helped reduce debts to £47.9m from £58.4m. The company said its relationship with its banker, RBS, was “strong”.

“They are extremely supportive of the company’s ongoing strategy,” said Afshar.

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AMA, established in 1983, has been involved in developments including the 90-home Caer Amon project at Cramond, Succoth Heights at Murrayfield, the Printhouse at Canonmills and the Greenhill Court development on the site of the old Bruntsfield Hospital.

It has also been behind a number of commercial property developments, including offices at St Vincent Place.

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