Property values help to boost Boot

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Construction group Henry Boot is increasing its dividend payment by 40 per cent after returning to profit thanks to markets steadying and property values recovering.

The Sheffield-based developer, builder, plant hire and land assembly business recorded pre-tax profits of £18.9 million for the year to the end of December, following losses totalling £12 million in 2009, prompted by a £22.4 million decrease in the value put on its investment properties.

Revenues rose by 13 per cent from £117 million to £132 million.

Group financial director, John Sutcliffe, said property values had become relatively stable after plummeting during the recession, prompting a recovery in trading profits.

“Our markets are relatively stable, although it is still pretty difficult for the construction sector because of government cutbacks,” said Mr Sutcliffe.

“By and large, we probably feel a little bit more comfortable than was the case for the last couple of years.”

The Banner Cross Hall group says it is still too early to think of speculative development, although it is pursuing and design and build opportunities and developments where lettings are agreed ahead of construction.

The Group is recommending a total dividend for the year 3.5p, up from 2.5p in 2009.

n Chairman John Reis has announced he will retire in May. His place will be taken by fellow independnet non-executive director John Brown.