But land trader and housebuilder warns over industry ‘headwinds’ 

Developer and land trader Henry Boot saw its pre-tax profit more than double in 2021 as it bounced back from covid-hit 2020 results.

The Sheffield-based listed firm reported pre-tax profit of £35.6m, up 103%, on turnover of £231m for the 2021 calendar year as it expanded its land promotion and housebuilding activities.

However, the figures remain well below the numbers reported in 2019 results pre-covid, when it made pre-tax profit of £49m on turnover of £380m.

henry boot

The firm, which works as a contractor, land promoter, housebuilder, commercial developer and property investor, said it had increased the number of plots sold to housebuilders in 2021 by more than 50%, from 2,000 to 3,008.

It also grew its committed development programme – consisting of both residential, commercial and industrial schemes – from £85m to £277m in the year.

The business also progressed with plans to grow its jointly owned housebuilding business, Stonebridge Homes, selling 120 homes in the year, with a target to sell 200 in 2022 from its 912-home land bank.

Overall the business claims to have 92,667 residential land plots under its control, up from 88,070 at this time last year, of which over 15,000 have planning permission and a further 11,259 are in the planning process.

jamie boot

Jamie Boot has announced his retirement as chair of the business

The business, which was set up by Henry Boot in 1886, announced last month that the founder’s great, great grandson, Jamie Boot, was to step down as chair of the firm, marking the first time in its history that the firm will not be family run.

Boot is to be replaced by the firm’s current non-executive director, Peter Mawson.

Tim Roberts, chief executive of Henry Boot, said the results reflected a “good year”, with profit ahead of expectations. He said 2022 had started well, and that Stonebridge Homes had already secured 77% of orders against its 200-home sales target.

He said: “The immediate outlook for our markets remains positive with high levels of occupier and investor demand for industrial and logistics space, a strong forward sales position for Stonebridge Homes and continued demand from housebuilders for residential land. Not surprisingly, therefore, we have had a very good start to 2022 with high levels of secured sales.

“However, as an industry we face several headwinds. Build cost inflation is stubbornly high, supply restrictions are being seen and it’s a competitive employment market. All of these challenges have been overshadowed recently by the conflict in Ukraine. At the moment we are managing these challenges, maintaining our margin through sales inflation and doing a good job of motivating and retaining our team.”