Stewart Milne hails strong year as sales rise by £40m

Housebuilder Stewart Milne Group has cheered a 'strong trading performance' after reporting a second consecutive year of turnover and profit growth.

Glenn Allison, chief executive of Stewart Milne Group, said the results underlined the success of 'bold' investment decisions. Picture: Contributed

The Aberdeen-headquartered firm, which also runs a timber frames business, posted a near-£40 million increase in turnover, from £240m to £279m for the year to June.

Operating profits doubled from £7m to £14m during the period.

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Stewart Milne, chaired by its eponymous founder, who is also the chairman of Aberdeen FC, said the strong performance demonstrated the effectiveness of its current turnaround strategy.

The results mark a second successive year of growth and cement the firm’s recovery after operating profits fell to just £600,000 two years ago.

However, the company swung to an overall loss of £3.9m, which it attributed to exceptional charges relating to the disposal of non-core assets. This compared to a loss of £13.7m in 2017.

Factoring in amendments to its banking facility, the group made an underlying profit for the year of £2.7m.

Chief executive officer Glenn Allison said: “Building on last year’s improvements, our strong trading performance shows an even greater growth in profitability.

“We’re now three years into our five-year strategy and returning to an underlying profit position for the year vindicates the strategy we have adopted.

“These results underline the success of the bold decisions we made to invest in broadening our portfolio and footprint in parts of the country where demand continues to rise.”

Turnover at the group’s homebuilding business grew by £39m to £228m and delivered 833 units, driven by a strong performance in north-west England and central Scotland.

In May, it secured £11.5m from Homes England through the Home Building Fund to allow delivery of almost 500 houses. It also received the green light for 440 new homes in East Lothian.

Chief operating officer Stuart MacGregor said: “The housing markets in central Scotland and north-west England continue to out-perform the UK national average and we continue to increase investment in these areas to drive further profitable growth for the group.

“We doubled our homes activity in England in the year to June 2017 and, this year, we entered into an agreement with Homes England to deliver a further six developments. Our homes business in central Scotland continues to grow and we are bringing an increasing number of new developments to the market in the months and years to come.

“The five-year outlook for both areas is particularly favourable and we are now very well placed to exploit these strong market conditions.”

The group employs 800 people in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Oxford.