Henry Boot profit falls 65%, but order book is full

Shares of Sheffield-based property investment and construction group Henry Boot plc fell about 3% on Tuesday after it said 2020 revenue fell 41% to £222.4 million and profit before tax plunged 65% to £17.1 million.

Despite the drop in revenue and profit, Henry Boot is proposing a final dividend of 3.3p, increasing the full year dividend to 5.5p (2019: 5.0p) “reflecting our current financial position and confidence in our long-term markets.”

The company said its construction business recovered well in the second half of 2020 with “encouraging demand, led by public sector customers, leading to full order book for 2021.”

It reported a good start to the current trading year, “ahead of expectations on activity, order book and forward sales in land, development and housebuilding.”

In its outlook, Henry Boot said: “Whilst CV-19 had an impact on the group’s 2020 performance, there was still resilient demand within the markets we operate in, leaving us optimistic for the year ahead.

“These remain unprecedented times, however, we begin the year in a strong financial position, with a resilient balance sheet, a portfolio with ample opportunities, and encouraging forward sales as our key markets recover.

“This leaves the group feeling confident that we will be able to build on the momentum we saw in H2 2020 and continue delivering a high-quality service to our customers.”