News Archive

AGM Statement 2001

At the Company’s Annual General Meeting held today in London, Sir Stanley Clarke, Chairman of St. Modwen Properties PLC, made the following remarks:

Trading Update

“We have made a good start to the current financial year.

In my Chairman’s Statement contained within the 2000 Annual Report and Accounts, I reported that our hopper of potential development opportunities was in a healthier position than at any other time in our history. I am very pleased to confirm that the hopper continues to be replenished and expanded. We are seeing an increasing number of opportunities to purchase income producing land and buildings which also have medium to long-term prospects for the creation of additional value by regeneration, development or change of use.

Since the year-end, in addition to acquisitions included in the Report, we have acquired:

for £3.5 million a substantial intermediate leasehold interest in part of the Edmonton Green shopping centre which gives us greater control over this £60 million project.

We have paid £4.5 million for a long leasehold interest in a supermarket occupied by Sainsburys in Walsall which forms part of our planned 250,000 sq.ft town centre redevelopment.

We have acquired a 50% interest in a £7.5 million leisure complex at The Planets, Woking in a joint venture with Rotch Property with whom we are also working in partnership at Wembley Central Square and on the PubMaster investment. We have also acquired a 92.5% interest in the Great British Kitchen Development Company, a joint venture with the British Food Trust and a private individual, which involves a £40million development of a major visitor attraction in Stafford. I am also pleased to report continued success on the planning front:

At Thurleigh Airfield Business Park, in Bedfordshire, we have obtained a resolution to grant consent on a further 40-acres enabling up to 500,000 sq.ft of additional development to be undertaken.

We have obtained planning consent for the first phase on our 80 acre Avonmouth development being undertaken in joint venture with site owners, Britannia Zinc and have agreed terms for the disposal of a second phase to Wessex Water.

Our 110,000 sq.ft non-food retail scheme at Worcester took a major step forward with finalisation of a complex Section 106 Agreement releasing the planning on that site. We expect to be on site by the end of 2001.

We have completed construction of two substantial pre-sold developments which will contribute to profits in the first-half namely, an office building at Apex 6, Worcester for Npower and at Pride Park Derby, the second call centre building for Egg.

Our programme of selling investments where we have completed our process of adding value is continuing and so far this year we have realised £10.4 million from nine sales out of the Key Property Investments and our own portfolios.

Our brownfield land housing programme continues to be a source of strength with good response to our Spring releases. Undoubtedly, our policy of delivering housing land to the residential developer market with all planning infra-structure and land reclamation issues addressed, is providing a product which is attractive to that market.

Northern Racing, in which the company holds a 35% stake, continues to expand its interests in the ownership of racecourses. Following the acquisition of Bath Racecourse in December, Northern Racing has acquired Hereford Racecourse and secured a controlling position in respect of Sedgefield Racecourse.

The development construction programme is continuing apace with pre-sold or pre-let schemes on site at Etruria Valley and Trentham Lakes, Stoke-on-Trent and at Coombs Wood, Halesowen in addition to the £20 million Castle Walk retail development in Newcastle-under-Lyme where the first phase is now substantially pre-let.

We are in negotiations on a number of other pre-let opportunities and are launching six small unit speculative programmes in Stoke-on-Trent, Halesowen, Burton-on-Trent and at Walsall. In each case, we have advance interest in units before construction has commenced.

Good progress has been made and we are on track for increased profits for the first-half of 2001. There is still plenty of work to be completed for the full year but with the number of opportunities in the hopper we are confident of continued success.

Board Structure

We started planning for my inevitable succession some time ago when Anthony Glossop was appointed Deputy Chairman, a clear indication of the Board’s belief that he should in due course follow me as Executive Chairman.

He, in turn, has been building up the executive team to allow him to relinquish his Chief Executive responsibilities at the appropriate time. The progress in this is shown in the report with the establishment of clear regional and service teams and the formation of the Property Board.

We have also been reviewing the non-executive element of the Board. The Company has benefited for many years from a stable and experienced team of non executives who have given the company considerable support and guidance. However, we are recognising the inevitable passage of time and are planning to introduce new blood in this area as well.