More than 100,000 sq ft was completed at Gateway 36 in 2023, Harworth said. Credit: via FTI Consulting

Harworth on track for £1bn target

Chief executive Lynda Shillaw described 2023’s performance as robust in a trading update, stating that the Yorkshire group is closing in on its goal of being a £1bn business by 2027.

The firm, which is a regenerator of large-scale land and property, will announce its full year results for 2023 on 19 March.

Harworth expects that net disposal value as at 31 December 2023 will be slightly ahead of current market consensus, as a result of management actions undertaken on development sites to unlock high value uses, and positive progress with planning applications, underpinning valuation gains.

The business announced last year that it is divesting itself of non-grade A stock.

In this month’s update, Shillaw said: “Harworth had a strong 2023 and delivered another robust performance. The unique combination of our extensive landbank and applying our specialist skillset to identify and realise the highest value from each of our sites saw us complete serviced land and property sales at prices in line with, or ahead of, book values, achieve lettings ahead of estimated rental values, and progress sites through the planning system, all against an uncertain market backdrop.

“Since re-listing in 2015, Harworth has doubled its EPRA NDV. The progress made across our portfolio in 2023 has meant that our year-end valuation is slightly ahead of expectations, moving us closer to our strategic ambition of becoming a £1bn business by 2027.”

The group enjoyed a highly active close to 2023, disposing of six sites to residential developers to take forward, bringing in more than £40m.

Shillaw continued: “As we enter 2024, there are some signs of optimism in the macro environment whilst our key markets remain characterised by structural undersupply. We are encouraged that we are seeing continued good demand into the new year for our serviced residential land as well as occupier interest in our employment sites.

“This, combined with our long-term through-the-cycle approach, our low loan-to-value and significant financial liquidity means that as well as securing and progressing opportunities to deliver long-term value to investors, we are well positioned to take the management actions that will generate further value gains from our portfolio in the year ahead.”

Highlights locally included the completion of 110,000 sq ft at Barnsley’s Gateway 36, and 83,000 sq ft at Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Park. At Skelton Grange in Leeds, 800,000 sq ft was consented.

A total of 1,170 residential plots were sold in the period, with a remaining pipeline of 27,190 plots. After year-end, a deal with Sky-House was concluded to deliver 50 homes in Waverley. Planning approval was received for the first pilot site for Harworth’s net zero carbon homes product, at the Prince of Wales development in Pontefract.

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