Henry Boot trading in line with expectations despite Brexit uncertainty

Construction company Henry Boot’s real-estate activities performed in line with expectations last year, despite Brexit uncertainty and booking a one off charge related to a pension ruling.

The Sheffield-based firm said that it met expectations despite trading conditions becoming more challenging during 2018, as negotiations around Britain’s departure from the European Union increased uncertainty within the UK property market.

However, the company noted that its property development business was affected by Brexit woes, as prospective projects were held back by client uncertainty or planning delays.

Henry Boot expects to book a £1.5 million provision for its 2018 results after the High Court ruled in October that pension scheme trustees have to equalise benefits for men and women for guaranteed minimum pensions.

It said that without the provision the company would have slightly exceeded expectations for 2018.

Meanwhile, during last year the company’s jointly owned housebuilding business, Stonebridge Homes, completed 145 sales, more than the 79 completed in 2017, and generated turnover of £35 million.

Henry Boot said that it started the new year with a strong order book and expected to sign a number of contracts in the first half of this year.

Chief executive John Sutcliffe said that 2018 was “another successful year for Henry Boot”.

He said it was difficult to finalise deals or new developments in a specific financial period but that three commercial developments anticipated to start last year would now begin in 2019, and one sale that was expected to complete in 2018 was completed in January.

“Although we remain mindful of some uncertainty in the UK real estate market, these transactions, added to the already committed and contracted activity for 2019, give us a good start to the year. ” Mr Sutcliffe said.

Full-year results are expected to be published on March 22.