Largest UK Homebuilder Calls Bottom on Recession
In announcing its final results for 2009, the Miller Group, the UK’s largest, privately-owned homebuilder and property developer said UK "housing and commercial property markets [are] past the worst," in an accompanying statement. Last year presented a loss for the company, but not as bad as the year before that. The 2009 loss before tax stood at £72.4m (US$99.1m) and in 2008 in was £170m. For 2010, the group expects its housing volumes to be "considerably ahead" of 2009. As for its cashflow, Miller's scheduled debt amortization will be repaid nine months early, and it appears to have no problems getting access to more capital. The company is getting more than £60m for example, from government-led equity loan schemes as well as Credit Suisse and Caterpillar Financial Services, for land reclamation projects. Speaking on the future, CEO Keith Miller said, "the early and decisive action we took to reorganize our finances and landbanks, and rationalize our cost base has stood us in good stead." "We have 33 sites in our strategic land portfolio which are progressing well through the planning process, and these are expected to produce approximately 14,000 plots in the next 5 years," he adds. "All will be acquired at superior margins, and the first 1,000 plots should be acquired in 2010 and 2011." Chairman Brian Stewart said that the recovery can be maintained, as long as access to liquidity remains open. He added the half of the projected sales of home built by the Miller Group are already done deals. Further, the sale of 1,010 housing units so far in 2010, but Miller Group's performance 13% ahead of the same time in 2009. Write to Jacob Gaffney.