26 August 2010 – interim results

The land management and property group has announced interim results to 30 June revealing pre-tax profit of £9.0m (2009: loss of £20.3m) for earnings per share of 5.0p.  The main reason for the turnaround in profitability is a revaluation surplus on investment properties of £1.7m against a write-down in the first half of 2009 of £23.6m.  Net debt at the end of the period had fallen to £25.0m (31 Dec 2009: £32.1m) and the interim dividend was increased to 1.35p (2009: 1.25p) to reflect the improved performance.  The share price has hardly reacted to these much better results although this is hardly surprising given the state of the market.  Although the shares are a buy for the long term, it is hard to see what the    catalyst would be to drive the shares higher in the short-term and so we rate the stock as a HOLD.