New CEO at listed property and investment company

Property regeneration and investment business, Harworth Group, has appointed Lynda Shillaw to succeed Owen Michaelson as chief executive officer.

Her appointment will take effect on 1 November 2020, allowing time for an orderly handover before Michaelson retires from the company on 31 December 2020.

Shillaw is currently group property director and a Board member at listed Town Centre Securities, where she leads the management of its land and property and its development pipeline.

Harworth has also today released a trading update covering the first half of the financial year to 30 June 2020, where it notes underlying demand for its residential and industrial land remains robust.

Shillaw has previously been divisional CEO, property at the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), where she was responsible for MAG’s investment portfolio and development land bank, including its “Airport City” joint venture. 

This followed a long career managing both investment and development real estate portfolios for BT and Co-operative Group, before joining Lloyds Banking Group as global head of its Real Estate lending division.

She is also a non-executive director of The Crown Estate and Vivid Housing Association.

Alastair Lyons, non-executive chairman of Harworth, said: “I am delighted to have someone succeeding Owen who is as well known in our core regions and beyond as Lynda is for the depth of her real estate and regeneration experience and who has an undoubted natural affinity for our core purpose – to transform land and property into sustainable places where people want to live and work.

“I have great confidence in her ability to lead Harworth on the next stage of its application of its highly differentiated skills as a master developer to generate long-term market leading returns.  

“I would also like to thank Owen for what Harworth has achieved under his leadership and wish him well for the future.”

Shillaw added: “This is a really exciting opportunity to lead a highly regarded business that makes a real contribution to the communities in which it works.

“Few companies have Harworth’s track record in successfully regenerating large complex sites and I look forward to working with and leading such a strong and experienced team in a part of the world with which I have a strong association.”

In its trading update, Rotherham-headquartered Harworth says it has prioritised capital expenditure on seven major development sites where agreed sales are in place for later in 2020.

And it is progressing its infrastructure delivery programme, to ensure it has a pipeline of further sites ready for sale in 2021.

The company says 95% of its Business Space rent, including a small number of tenants making monthly payments, has been received for the June quarter date, which is broadly in line with both quarter one and historical performance.

And the firm’s update adds: “Following the increase in the company’s revolving credit facility by £30m to £130m that was documented in May, it has continued to exercise a prudent and disciplined approach to financing.

“As a result it remains well capitalised, with net debt of £69.2m (FY 2019: £70.9m) and a net loan-to-portfolio value today (based on 31 December 2019 valuations) of 11.7% (FY 2019: 12.1%).

“It remains too early to say with any certainty the extent to which the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the company’s results for the financial year to 31 December 2020.

“However, recently completed sales at or above book value are entirely consistent with the well-documented demand for logistics space and new homes, particularly in suburban areas, indicating the residential and industrial markets in Harworth’s core regions remain fundamentally sound.”