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St Modwen warns of 'period of uncertainty' after Brexit vote

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Half year profits have fallen sharply as regeneration developer St Modwen warned it is taking a 'more cautious approach' to projects as it operates in a 'period of uncertainty' in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The West Midlands-based group, which focuses on regenerating brownfield sites, saw pre-tax profits drop back to £30 million for the first six months, down from £206m a year ago when it was boosted by a £128m increase in the value of its New Covent Garden Market property.

This time it was hit by a one-off £13m hike in UK stamp duty and a £21m cut in valuation of the New Covent Garden Market site.

But the developer said underlying trading profits were in line with last year's record levels after a 'strong first half of the year' boosted by its core commercial and housebuilding businesses.

Overall revenue was up to £159.7m from £135.7m a year ago and St Modwen said it was increasing its interim dividend payout to shareholders by 2%, to 1.94p per share, as many of its major projects were reaching "important milestones with further long-term development potential".

Chief executive Bill Oliver said: "Following the Referendum held on 23rd June 2016, we are now operating in a period of uncertainty in relation to many factors that impact the property market.

"Whilst it is too early to accurately predict how the UK property market will respond, until we have more clarity we believe it is appropriate to take a more cautious approach to the delivery of our development strategy."

The company, which has redeveloped the Longbridge site in Birmingham and Goodyear in Wolverhampton, said it now had a land bank of 6,000 acres with a £1.7bn portfolio of more than 100 projects.

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