26 October 2020
Inland Homes plc
("Inland Homes" or "Group")
Inland Homes provides trading update for the year ended 30 September 2020
Inland Homes ("Inland Homes" or "the Group"), the leading brownfield developer, housebuilder and partnership housing company with a focus on the South and South East of England, today issues a trading update for the year ended 30 September 2020 ahead of its Preliminary Results which will be announced in January 2021.
Period under review and comparator period
The period in relation to which this trading update relates is the year to 30 September 2020; comparative information is for the audited fifteen-month period to 30 September 2019.
We expect revenue for the year to be no less than £135.0m (fifteen-month period to 30 September 2019: £147.9m). Our revenue run-rate is at a higher level than the comparative period, principally because of the increased number of partnership housing developments under construction, which continue to generate significant monthly revenue, achieved completions on land sales and plots delivered to plan.
Reducing net debt was the strategic priority for the Group this year, even before the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As the impact of COVID-19 became apparent, we swiftly implemented several measures to reduce the Group's cost base, preserve its assets and conserve cash. This included a successful placing of new ordinary shares in May 2020 to raise gross proceeds of £9.9m.
During the year, we achieved a reduction of Net Debt to £138.3m (30 September 2019: £152.3m) comprising gross debt of £149.3m (30 September 2019: £163.2m) and cash and cash equivalents of £11.0m (30 September 2019: £10.9m). We have triggered the £20m accordion part of the revolving credit facility ("RCF") with HSBC which increases the facility available for day-to-day use by the Group to £65m.
The Group was trading in line with market expectations to mid-March 2020, but its results have inevitably been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, in line with the Group's commitment to health and safety, our priority has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our staff and maintain positive relationships with our customers, subcontractors and suppliers. Measures were rapidly taken to ensure full compliance with the Government's 'COVID-19 Secure' guidance and the Group is a signatory to the Home Builders Federation's 'Charter for Safe Working Practice'.
All but three sites remained operational through lockdown with stringent new procedures regarding hygiene, social distancing, travel and self-isolation in place to ensure the safety of those on site. Office-based staff have been supported in the transition to working from home and continue to do-so in line with Government guidance.
Sales and marketing suites reopened in May 2020 and we were able to open the three sites that had been temporarily closed in August 2020.
During the period have seen sustained demand from investors, housing associations and other developers for our high-quality land assets and our planning expertise, as evidenced by new management agreements in our asset management division.
We secured the sale of 94 plots at our flagship site Wilton Park, Beaconsfield and 195 plots at Cheshunt Lakeside, Hertfordshire, on more favourable terms than the original deals which had been negotiated and had subsequently aborted prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. The sale at Cheshunt Lakeside, via the Group's joint venture, Cheshunt Lakeside Developments Limited, to a local housing association, also secured a £34.5m build contract for partnership housing to construct the homes, generating further revenue and profitability for the future.
Additionally, the Group secured the sale of 208 apartments to two Build to Rent ("BTR") funds within its Centre Square joint venture and wholly owned Buckingham House development in High Wycombe with a total value of £52.8m.
During the year we completed the sale of 226 private homes (fifteen-month period to 30 September 2019: 202) including via joint ventures but excluding bulk sales to BTR operators. These were across 11 active sites with an average selling price of £287,000 (fifteen-month period to 30 September 2019: £250,000) which makes these homes attractive for both the first-time buyer market and those with long-term rental investment intentions.
The average selling price increase is due to a change of sales mix between houses and apartments sold as well as price differences in geographic locations. Our net reservation rate per active sales outlet was 0.69 for the year (fifteen-month period to 30 September 2019: 0.73). However, this increased to 1.12 homes per active sales outlet during the fourth quarter (the period from 1 July to 30 September 2020) following the re-opening of our sales centres and increased demand in the marketplace occasioned by the temporary relaxation in Stamp Duty Land Tax.
Asset management activity
A growing part of the Group's business involves procuring sites for and providing planning and management services to external investors. This activity enables the Group to earn substantial fees with a significantly reduced investment and working capital requirement. The transactions are generally structured so that they are non-recourse to the Group.
Our asset management division has grown significantly this year to six live projects in Greater London which have the potential to deliver more than 3,500 homes. Notably the 4.4-acre former Homebase site in Walthamstow, East London and the latest agreement announced in August 2020 for the development of the 36.7-acre site at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, West London, which is the fifth transaction that the Group has done with the Ministry of Defence. We expect to make a planning application for a residentially led mixed-use scheme of over 1,000 homes shortly for this site.
The planning application for 514 homes at the Master Brewer site in Hillingdon was called in by the Greater London Authority and approved by the Mayor of London on 3 September 2020. The planning application is now awaiting either the release of the planning consent by the Secretary of State for Housing or for it to be called in by him for further consideration.
The Group sold 449 plots during the year and has grown its land bank to a record 11,045 plots (30 September 2019: 7,796), 2,470 of which have planning consent (30 September 2019: 2,956). The land bank includes 2,795 plots on strategic sites the majority of which are held by way of discount to market value options.
At 30 September 2020, the Group has submitted planning applications on 1,819 of its land bank plots and has 3,961 plots at a pre-application planning stage. We have also signed a development agreement with Homes England to develop a 54-acre site in Basildon, Essex which is expected to have a gross development value in the order of £200m.
Private and partnership housing build performance
At 30 September 2020 there are 415 private homes and 1,302 partnership homes under construction across 13 sites (30 September 2019: 892 private homes, 921 partnership homes).
Our total forward order books sit at £50.8m for private homes and commercial units (30 September 2019: £39.3m) and £105.8m for partnership housing contract income (30 September 2019: £123.7m). The partnership housing order book includes £40.3m of future contract income secured during the last two months of the financial year.
We continue to focus our efforts on growing the partnership housing activity as it achieves land sales for the Group and also secures a forward income stream from the subsequent construction activities thus balancing the business against any potential decline in the private sale market in the year ahead.
Whilst the general economic outlook remains uncertain, there is a fundamental shortage of high-quality, affordable housing across the UK and particularly in the South and South East of England which creates a sustained demand for our land assets, homes and expertise.
We remain focused on maximising and realising the value in our land bank in the year ahead, via land sales, private or partnership housebuilding activity, using our flexible business model to adapt to changing market conditions.
Stephen Wicks, Chief Executive, commented:
"The past six months have been one of dedicated focus to achieve the Group's stated strategic aims, namely a refocus for the Group on a clear strategy of land-focused activities geared to positive cash generation and net debt reduction. This has been achieved despite the inevitable disruption and significant impact on our results caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic."
"We start the new financial year with cautious optimism and a record land bank: buoyed by sustained demand from customers, investors, developers and housing associations for our quality land assets, homes and expertise and equipped with a stronger balance sheet."
"We remain focused on maximising and realising the value in our land bank in the year ahead, whether that be via land sales, private or partnership housebuilding activity. Our flexible business model supports us in making these decisions quickly. It is this entrepreneurial agility that gives us the flexibility to adapt to movements in a rapidly changing marketplace."
"I should also like to thank all members of our staff and supply chain for their immense efforts over these unprecedented times and for their continued support."
Inland Homes plc
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 762450
Stephen Wicks, Chief Executive
Nishith Malde, Finance Director
Gary Skinner, Managing Director
Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7457 2020
Notes to Editors:
Incorporated in the UK in 2005, Inland Homes plc is an AIM listed specialist housebuilder and brownfield developer, dedicated to achieving excellence in sustainability and design.
Inland Homes acquires brownfield land in the South and South-East of England principally for residentially led development schemes. The business then enhances the land value by obtaining planning permission, before building open market and affordable homes or selling surplus consented land to other developers to generate cash.
The Company is committed to extensive public and community consultation to ensure that, where possible, local community needs and objectives are met.
Inland's aim is to create sustainable communities and homes which set a benchmark for all future developments in the South and South East of England. The Company is always looking for brownfield sites without planning permission for future development.
For further information, please visit the Inland Homes website at www.inlandhomes.co.uk .
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