Group makes no mention of IPO
Threefold profits rise for Miller as homes market gathers pace
The company gave no indication that it was reviving its aborted £450 million flotation of the homes division.
Chris Endsor , who heads Miller Homes, said it “remains an option” but was not among its immediate plans.
He said trading had been, and continues to be, positive. “The home buying public are in confident mood. People have more money in their pocket.”
He said the company had expected the approaching General Election to cause the market to slow down but this had not happened.
The Help to Buy scheme and changes to stamp duty had been positive for the market. Endsor said 70% of those using Help to Buy were first-time buyers and 40% of total sales were to buyers using the scheme, a figure which he expects to settle at 30%.
The change to stamp duty in Scotland was less advantageous beyond £320,000, but as the company’s average price is £200,000 it was not particularly affected.
The Edinburgh company’s outgoing chief executive Keith Miller said the business was benefiting from improvements in the market and had made a good start to this year.
Strong growth in both volumes and profitability in Miller Homes underpinned a 73% increase in group profit before interest to £48.4 million (2013: £27.9m) and a 233% increase in group profit before tax to £34.6m (2013: £10.4m).
Mr Miller, who has stepped down, said: “Miller Homes delivered a strong performance in 2014 benefiting particularly from continued improvements in the housing market.
“The business achieved significant growth in operating margins and return on capital driven by higher volumes and the increased contribution from newly acquired sites. Miller Homes also made an encouraging start to 2015. Private reservations to date are 18% higher than the prior year. Land supply and housing demand across our regional markets remain healthy.
“We are focused on the delivery of increased margins and an enhanced return on capital. This is being achieved by a disciplined approach to land investment, growing volumes with limited additional overheads and increasing the conversion of strategic land. Our target is to deliver annual completions of 2,750-3,000 units in the medium term.
“In the rest of the group, Miller Developments experienced strong occupier and investor demand on its key long-term developments whilst Miller Mining continued to deliver profits and positive cash flow in a difficult market.”