Bruntwood breaks through £1bn barrier

Bruntwood, the family-owned property developer and investor, has broken through the £1bn mark for property under ownership for the first time in its 40 years.
The property group, which has more than 100 properties across the north and midlands, has also seen its turnover hit a new record level of £118m for the financial year ending 30 September 2016, up 9% on the previous year.
Profit for the financial year was £69m compared with £70m in 2015 (restated).  Under the new accounting standard FRS102, companies are required to bring revaluation gains into their profit and loss account. 
Whereas the 2015 profit figure (as restated under FRS102) was aided by market movements, the 2016 figure was entirely the result of the group’s own endeavours in a fairly flat market, it said.
Bruntwood, which is owned by the Oglesby family and gives a share of its profits to good causes and arts projects, saw its net worth increase by 16% to £473m, significantly surpassing its pre-recession high of £437m. 
During the year, the group acquired over 100,000 sq ft of property, including Commercial Union House in Manchester, which is being redeveloped, and Synergy House at Manchester Science Partnerships.
In Leeds, Bruntwood has remodelled the 120,000 sq ft former City House into Platform which is nearing completion, similarly transforming the 110,000 sq ft former 2 Cornwall Street in Birmingham into Cornerblock and undertaking the site enabling works for Circle Square in Manchester. In total, £96m was invested in development and refurbishment across the portfolio.
The group expects to complete 700,000 sq ft of schemes in 2017 including starting on site with the commercial phases of Circle Square and continuing the repositioning project at Alderley Park, Cheshire. 
In all, the group has £1.4bn gross development value in the  pipeline in addition to £1bn of existing assets.
Post year end, the group negotiated a new £115.5m 15-year facility with Aviva.
Chris Oglesby,  group chief executive, said: ‘Despite the uncertain macro-economic backdrop, demand for our product and service proposition in our core cities remains strong. 
“Vacancy in our investment portfolio is at an all time low, and we now have the capital and financing structure to not only deliver our significant development pipeline, but also to provide resilience should economic conditions change.”