Watkin Jones swings to six-month profit with revenue boost

(Alliance News) - Watkin Jones PLC on Tuesday reported increased interim earnings, but said it ...

Alliance News 21 May, 2024 | 1:29PM
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(Alliance News) - Watkin Jones PLC on Tuesday reported increased interim earnings, but said it will not declare a dividend for its latest six-month period.

The stock was down 5.6% at 50.60 pence per share in London on Tuesday afternoon.

The London-based student accommodation developer and manager said pretax profit was GBP2.1 million for the half year that ended on March 31, compared with the prior year's GBP800,000 loss.

Revenue increased 14% to GBP175.1 million from GBP153.9 million. This was "delivered predominantly from our previously sold developments on site, alongside one forward sale completed in March 2024," Watkin Jones explained.

Operating profit skyrocketed to GBP4.0 million from GBP700,000, which Watkin said reflected gross margins in line with guidance plus the effects of cost-saving actions it carried out in financial 2023. Adjusted operating profit, calculated before the impact of an exceptional finance cost of GBP1.3 million, more than doubled to GBP4.0 million from GBP1.8 million.

Watkin, which paid a 1.4 pence per share dividend for the first half of financial 2023, said it will not be declaring an interim dividend this year. It said this was a continuation of "the approach adopted at the year end...prioritising the maintenance of financial flexibility during this period of market disruption".

Looking ahead, Watkin Jones expects at least GBP15 million in adjusted operating profit for the year to September 30.

"First half trading was in line with our expectations, with a focus on execution and operational performance," said Chief Executive Officer Alex Pease, who noted "gradual improvement in sentiment in the property investment market, which we expect to support a continued recovery in forward fund transaction demand".

Pease added: "With our established and specialist end-to-end development platform and a sector leading reputation...our focus remains on positioning the business to best capitalise on a market recovery."

By Emma Curzon, Alliance News reporter

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Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Watkin Jones PLC 47.35 GBX 1.18 -

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