Henry Boot sees improvements all around

Henry Boot says it is seeing strong growth in all its divisions and now easily expects to meet market expectations with its full year results.

In an interim management statement covering the period from the beginning of the year to now, the company says it expects its construction business to meet all of its targets for this year, and says it is already busy building an order book for next year.

Although contract pricing it still tight and some inflationary pressures are beginning to emerge, it says the contracting opportunities that have been open to it in the past few months are at the highest levels they have been for several years.

Its PFI contract on the A69 has seen an upturn in traffic for the first time in several years, which it says is a sign of the economic recovery.

Banner Plant, its plant division, has also seen an upturn in activity, although the company is waiting to see how it performs over the summer compared with last summer, when activity was high, before making a judgement about its performance overall.

In other parts of the business, it says over the period it has disposed of five sites, meeting pricing expectations with each one.

The schemes its property development business is advancing include a new exhibition centre in Aberdeen which it is promoting jointly with the council. The initial proposal for this is currently out to consultation.

It completed construction of a new mixed use office and leisure development in Deansgate in Manchester earlier this year, and even the redevelopment of the former Terry’s chocolate factory site in York is progressing: it is currently in discussions with both residential and hotel developers about the site, some parts of which have now lain dormant for the best part of a decade, and thinks it could begin development there next year.

Analyst Investec said the update was solid, and said that while the planning process continued to be challenging for the company, there was “clear potential” in its land and development sites.

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