Henry Boot doubles profit as revenue tops £230m

Sheffield-based property investment and construction group Henry Boot plc said its 2021 revenue rose 3.7% to £230.6 million and profit before tax soared 105.3% to £35.1 million, driven by “strong performance of residential land sales, industrial development, investment property revaluation gains and returns from joint ventures.”

Boot is proposing a final dividend of 3.63p, which together with the 2.42p interim dividend, gives a total of 6.05p, an increase of 10% for the year.

The company warned however that its industry faces several headwinds, with build cost inflation “stubbornly high” and continuing supply restrictions.

Henry Boot CEO Tim Roberts said: “Strong demand within our three key markets of Industrial & Logistics, Residential and Urban Development has helped us to achieve a good set of results.

“By continued investment in our significant pipeline of opportunities and using our strong balance sheet, we have achieved material growth in the business and secured attractive returns for our shareholders.

“Whilst there are pressures facing the economy and the industry, particularly inflation and supply restrictions, we continue to manage these effectively.

“We have also made a very good start to the year, building on the strong momentum across the group, with high levels of forward sales in land and housebuilding, further leasing of our developments and a full order book in construction.”

In his outlook, Roberts said: “The immediate outlook for our markets remains positive with high levels of occupier and investor demand for industrial and logistics space, a strong forward sales position for Stonebridge Homes and continued demand from housebuilders for residential land.

“Not surprisingly, therefore, we have had a very good start to 2022 with high levels of secured sales.

“However, as an industry we face several headwinds.

“Build cost inflation is stubbornly high, supply restrictions are being seen and it’s a competitive employment market.

“All of these challenges have been overshadowed recently by the conflict in Ukraine.

“At the moment we are managing these challenges, maintaining our margin through sales inflation and doing a good job of motivating and retaining our team.

“We remain a long-term business and one of our main advantages is our attractive pipeline.

“With potential for over 92,500 plots Hallam Land has one of the largest strategic land banks in the country, HBD has maintained its pipeline at £1.1 bn (75% in industrial) despite committing to £277m of development over the year and Stonebridge Homes with a land bank of 1,157 plots is readying itself to become a truly multiregional premium housebuilder.

“With a strong balance sheet, low levels of gearing, an engaged team and a portfolio rich with opportunity we are ready to meet demand and to continue making excellent progress against our medium-term strategic targets.”