Revaluation boosts profits at Black Country-based property group A&J Mucklow
Profits have more than doubled at Black Country based industrial property group A&J Mucklow, boosted by a revaluation of its portfolio.
That added £49.7 million to the value, taking it to £433.5m, and in turn boosted pre-tax profits for the 12 months to the end of June to £69.5 million, more than doubled the £29.6m recorded the year before.
On an underlying basis, profits were more modest at £15.7m, slightly down on last year's £15.9m.
Chairman of the family owned group, Rupert Mucklow, said called it "another strong performance by the group".
Founded in 1933, the business has around 3.8m sq ft of properties across the Midlands. Mr Mucklow said: "Letting activity and occupancy rates have been maintained at very high levels during the 12 months, enabling rental and property values to continue to grow, which has resulted in substantial increases in our pre-tax profit and net asset value per share."
This was despite a year in which Mucklow did not buy any new industrial property; "There were limited opportunities available in the Midlands and prices achieved were considerably higher than we could justify paying," said Mr Mucklow. "We have continued to focus on creating our own investment properties through development."
That included a £3m revamp of its 25,200 sq ft Trinity Central office building, next to Birmingham International railway station, now let to a single occupier for £570,000 a year, up from the £450,000 a year rent previously.
Mucklow also carried out a substantial £1.7m refit of its 30,000 sq ft retail warehouse on the Birchley Island at Oldbury, which resulted in a new 15-year lease with the tenant for annual rent of £420,000 a year, up from £28,000 a year previously.
It has also completed its 44,250 sq ft pre-let industrial development at Mucklow Park i54 in Wolverhampton. The site, near the Jaguar Land Rover engine factory, is occupied by engineering firm Tentec, part of Atals Copco. Mucklow has excercised its option to buy 6.4 acres of the 15 acre site and is now marketing the remainder for pre-let occupiers.
The company also sold a pair of industrial properties in Birmingham for healthy profits. Bull ring Trading Estate sold for £13m, way above the £5.4m valuation, while Camp Hill was sold in April for £7m. It is currently in the process of selling Lancaster Gate in the city for £5m – more than triple its £1.2m valuation just a year ago.
Looking forward, Rupert Mucklow said: "It is difficult to predict what might happen over the next 12 months in the industrial occupier and investment markets, particularly with Brexit looming.
"Usually, at this late stage in the property cycle, with occupancy levels at record highs and industrial property yields at all time lows, we would be anticipating a correction in property values and be preparing ourselves to start acquiring attractively priced investment properties again.
"However, there are currently no signs of the industrial property market weakening, so we intend to continue to focus our activities towards development for the time being, to include a controlled speculative development programme and should circumstances change, we remain well positioned to capitalise on a weaker investment market."