Land acquisition business bolsters annual results through round of major disposal

Rachael Ainscough

Key disposals and a record number of planning applications have improved the financial performance of Leigh-based Ainscough Strategic Land.

The business published annual figures showing turnover of £11.413m for the 2021/22 financial year, which compared with £1.942m in the 2020/21 fiscal year. EBITDA of £8.022m was a vast improvement on a £247,000 deficit the previous year.

Net assets grew from £4.404m last year to £11.050m.

Chief executive, Rachael Ainscough, said: “This is a strong set of results driven by a number of successful open market sales of land, for which we had previously secured planning consent on behalf of the landowners.

“We currently have more than 3,000 housing plots submitted for planning approval across the country, with a further 5,700 under contract which will be submitted for planning in due course.

“Our business is going from strength to strength and these results are a great credit to our team and the professional advisors and intermediaries with whom we work.”

The company promotes third-party land at its own cost and risk through the planning system via a land promotion agreement, and then takes a share of the sale proceeds of consented land after an open-market bid process.

The successful sale of major sites in Congleton, Swindon and Bishop Auckland, totalling more than 450 acres, were key to the company’s latest figures.

ASL’s strong forward development book is underpinned by the firm’s structure, which appeals to family landholders, says managing director, David O’Reilly: “A key feature of our appeal is that we are one of the very few remaining family-owned and privately-funded land promotion businesses in the country, with a 95% track record on all sites submitted for planning over the last 15 years.

“This foundation underpins our core values as much as our flexibility, and landowners tell us it is a key consideration in our appointment. Our strong forward development book is proof of its appeal.”

A busy year saw four promotions among the senior team, with David O’Reilly appointed managing director, Liam Kenyon promoted to associate land director, Jenny Brow promoted to senior planner and Rachael Ainscough taking the reins as chief executive.

The company’s high success rate means it will continue to be selective about the sites it promotes, said Mr O’Reilly.

“We are always straight talking with our potential landowner partners and if we don’t feel that, after a detailed assessment, a site is likely to succeed through planning, we will tell them.”

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