A & J MUCKLOW GROUP PLC
Interim Management Statement
13 May 2014
A & J Mucklow Group, the Midlands based Real Estate Investment Trust, issues its Interim Management Statement covering the period from 1 January 2014 to 12 May 2014.
Rupert Mucklow, Chairman, comments:
Improving economic conditions and a resurgence in confidence and activity from both occupiers and investors, which has been evident throughout the period, has continued to benefit the Midlands industrial property market.
Occupational demand for modern industrial space is gaining momentum and rental levels are starting to rise on the back of a shortage of available stock.
Regional property values are also improving, fuelled by an increase in the number of active investors chasing a limited supply of investment opportunities.
NEW DEVELOPMENT AT APEX PARK, WORCESTER
The contractor has now been appointed and work commenced on schedule at Apex Park, Worcester where we are building a pre-let distribution centre for Worcester Bosch. The cost to complete the 116,000 sq ft development will be slightly less than originally budgeted at around £5.5m and the property is expected to be operational and on rent (£0.72m pa) in December 2014.
No new investment properties were acquired during the period, but we did acquire a vacant 36,000 sq ft industrial building at Redfern Park, Tyseley, Birmingham for £1.58m, including stamp duty and costs. The property is currently being substantially refurbished at a cost of £0.16m and will be available for rental at £0.2m pa from July 2014.
Our vacancy rate increased marginally during the period from 6.2% to 6.9% following the acquisition of the above vacant building. We currently have strong interest in a number of our vacant properties and we expect our void level to fall below 6% over the next 12 months.
PLACING OF NEW SHARES
In March 2014, we placed 2.9m new shares with Institutional Investors, representing 4.8% of our issued share capital. The shares were placed at 490p each, raising £13.7m net of costs.
The proceeds are being used to fund the development at Apex Park, Worcester (approximately £5.5m) and to redeem the remaining £4.2m of our 11.5% debenture stock, which is due to mature in July 2014. The balance will be used to fund future investment opportunities.
Following the share placing, our net borrowings at 30 April 2014 were £69m, while undrawn banking facilities totalled £38m. Debt to equity gearing had reduced to 34% (LTV 25%).
Other than as stated above, there has been no significant change in the Group's financial position since 31 December 2013. We remain on target to deliver another satisfactory year to 30 June 2014.
Rupert Mucklow, Chairman
David Wooldridge, Finance Director
0121 550 1841