By Mike Fahy - Assistant Editor, Business Desk:
PEEL Group's Land & Property arm declared a pre-tax loss of £18.3m in the year to March 31, 2011 as its turnover climbed by 4% to £97.7m.
The business, whose main focus is developing property asserts held at docks in Liverpool and Glasgow, as well as its proposed Atlantic Gateway scheme, declared an operating profit of £55.3m (2010: £58.4m), but higher interests payments of £79.7m (£66m) pushed it into the red as it completed a refinancing of its debts.
A £200m debenture was increased to £250m in April 2010, and at the year end two loans worth a combined £182m were replaced by a new 20-year, £205m facility. The refinancings incurred one-off charges of £12.3m.
The company saw its rent roll drop by £2.6m to £64.3m during the year, which it said was due to the sale of properties in Blackburn and Glasgow. The properties brought in rent of almost £3.8m a year.
In total, it sold off land worth £18.6m during the period and made a profit of £5m on disposals. These included sites at Princes Dock in Liverpool, Speke Leisure Park, Astley Business Park in Wigan and at James Watt Dock at Greenock in Scotland.
The firm said that it currently has around 700,000 sq ft of property standing empty (2010: 893,000 sq ft) which has an estimated rental value of £4m a year (£5.9m).
However, it added that half of this is industrial property around its docklands holdings in Liverpool and Glasgow, which is being held for redevelopment purposes.
In total, the company controls more than 200,000 acres of land and held net assets of £640bn at its year end, down from £666.4bn in the prior year.
Peel's Land & Property division is currently progressing with both its its Wirral Waters and Liverpool Waters schemes, which it described as "the largest private-led regeneration projects in the country". It is also moving forward with plans for its £50bn Ocean Gateway scheme, which will see a series of new developments including new ports between Manchester and Liverpool.
Outline planning approval for Wirral Waters was achieved during the financial year, and since its year end it has also gained the green light for the first phase of investment - a £175m International Trade Centre. The Liverpool Waters element remains mired in in a dispute with heritage organisations, which has seen UNESCO threaten to revoke Liverpool's World Heritage status if plans were developed in their proposed form.
The company's accounts also show that after a period during which the value of its land bank had remained flat, "the market has increasingly shown evidence of the return of residential activity and as the year has progressed housebuilders have begun to emerge and prepare for business.
Since the year end, Peel has agreed a joint venture with housebuilder Barratt to develop 1,000 homes on Peel-owned land. The partnership has already gained planning for a 268-house development close to Liverpool John Lennon Airport in Speke, on which work is due to start on site shortly.
So Where is the money going to come from for all these ambitious projects?
So why cant the Daily Ghost (now deceased, soon to become the weekly Ghost) find this out.............no wonder they have had to close down, if I can find this out why cant they.
Maybe they will now copy this down and think twice before the project Glass Pie In The Sky projects on to the public.
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