St Modwen toasts four-fold profit rise

St Modwen, the property developer named after the patron saint of beer, raised a glass to a four-fold increase in profits in the year to November.

Stan Clarke, chairman, said net assets had risen by 25 per cent during the year from 39p a share to 49p. He said a 3 per cent increase in the valuation of St Modwen's portfolio was "consistent with the more cautious market sentiment that has been evident in recent months."

The profits jump from £3.5m to £13.2m included a one-off £3.8m profit from the sale of the Octagon Shopping Centre in Burton on Trent.

Rents from the £84.6m investment portfolio were £9.5m, providing a running yield of 11.2 per cent. As a result of pushing for rent increases, investment income exceeded the total costs of running the business, including interest payments, by £3.8m during the year, up from a surplus of £2m in 1993.

As a result of the disposal, borrowings fell to 48 per cent of shareholders' funds. The fall came despite a large increase in the company's land bank.

Mr Clarke said he expected 1995 to be another good year, underlining his confidence with a 60 per cent increase in the full-year dividend from 1p to 1.6p. The shares fell 2p to 43p.