Return to growth as Stewart Milne Group reports strong trading performance for the year ended June 2017

Stewart Milne Group has today lodged accounts which show significant overall growth driven by a major improvement in trading performance and a return to profit.

The independent, award-winning housebuilder and timber systems manufacturer increased turnover from £209.2million to £240.5m and operating profits grew from £0.6m to almost £7m for the year ended June 2017.

Revenues from its homes divisions in Central Scotland and North-West England and its timber systems business significantly increased compared to the previous year, reinforcing the success of the group’s strategy to invest in areas with the greatest potential for growth.

The group continued to dispose of non-core assets, to generate the cash to fund the increased investment in developments in Central Scotland and North-west England. These actions amounted to exceptional charges which resulted in an overall loss before taxation for the year of £13.7m, compared to £26m in the previous financial year.

Glenn Allison, chief executive of Stewart Milne Group said:

“The strong trading performance reflects the success of our strategy to broaden our portfolio and footprint by investing in parts of the country where the demand for homes continues to rise. The exceptional performance of our homes business in North-West England has resulted in a doubling of both the number of units delivered and of our turnover in the region, culminating in winning the award as best North-west house builder of the year.  Our increased investment in land in Central Scotland has seen a higher number of new award-winning developments, which provide a strong platform for even further growth.”

Turnover at Stewart Milne Timber Systems was up £7.3m to £59.4m because of rising demand across the country’s housing market and the development of strategic relationships with UK housebuilder customers as well as continued investment in innovation and digital technology to deliver the most cost-effective off-site construction solutions.

Demand for housing in North-east Scotland continued to be impacted by the downturn in the oil and gas industry, however, there are now signs that the market is stabilising following a challenging couple of years.

Mr Allison added:

“Our overall confidence in the recovery in the North-east housing market is exemplified by our flagship development at Countesswells. This £1billion investment in a whole new community, in a sought-after location to the west of Aberdeen, is really taking shape. Thanks to the HM Treasury guarantee, we’ve invested in the up-front delivery of major infrastructure, including the country’s fastest broadband, and extensive landscaping to form new parkland. There are now over 140 families living in this award-winning new development with three other house builders soon to join Stewart Milne Homes on site.”

These improved results and confidence in the underlying performance have been endorsed by a new three-year £175million banking facility with Bank of Scotland, part of Lloyds Banking Group.

Stuart MacGregor, group finance director of Stewart Milne Group added:

“The extension of our banking facility and our strong trading performance, underpins our strategy, and the decisions we have made to invest in areas with the greatest potential for growth.

“We will continue to focus on investing in new developments in Central Scotland and North-west England. The signals now point to a slight recovery in the North-east market, and our focus in the region will continue to be on providing quality family homes where demand has remained relatively stable.

“By taking a longer-term view and prudent approach, we are able to take advantage of the conditions in each of our markets. Equally, by committing to delivering quality homes in places our customers want to live and meeting the continually rising demand for offsite construction and our innovative timber systems products, we are well-placed to continue to grow in a sustainable way.”

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