20 January 2011 – pre-close trading update
Financial performance has remained in line with management expectations and there has been no material change in Henry Boot’s financial position since the Interim Management Statement which was issued in November. It is reassuring to hear that gearing at the year end was just 6% (2009: 18%). In the short term the company is focused on maximising the returns from its businesses whilst continuing to manage debt levels prudently. It has stated that profitable development opportunities are now beginning to emerge. Over the course of 2011 and 2012 it hopes to begin to reinvest resources back into these areas of activity. In the longer term it hopes to capitalise on its store of assets and opportunities, whaich are capable of generating excellent returns as markets improve. There is no reason to doubt this and the company is right to be optimistic about its long term future. However, we feel that there are more attractively priced shares around in the near term and therefore rate the shares as a HOLD.