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Company cuts debt and re-invests

Buccleuch profits shaved as portfolio re-shaped

Dalkeith Country Park VSProfits fell at property, tourism and hospitality group Buccleuch after it invested in its portfolio and cut debt.

Pre-tax profit was down to £1.17m for the year to the end of October against £1.72m in the previous 12 months.

After tax profit fell from £388,000 to £200,000, while debt was reduced from £13.5 million to £10.7m. Group turnover was almost static, up slightly from £37.9m to £38.2m. The highest paid director’s salary rose from £568,000 to £666,000.

During the period there was significant investment in energy projects and a major redevelopment at Dalkeith Country Park (pictured).

The increasingly diverse business spans commercial property, tourism and hospitality alongside renewable energy, agriculture and forestry. Over the year the group’s value rose by £5.5m to £128m.

Chief Executive John Glen said: “We are committed to playing a leading role in stimulating economic development in the rural economies in which we live and work.

“A number of major initiatives and investments have been made in the hospitality, leisure and energy elements of the business.”

A new multi-million pound food, drink, retail and wellness space, named the Restoration Yard is being created within Dalkeith Country Park’s former stable yard, alongside a new adventure playground.

More than £76m of private money will be invested in the project which is due to open this summer and will create more than 40 jobs.

“On the energy side we have made significant steps on our journey to convert the opencast coal site at Glenmuckloch into an energy park,” said Mr Glen.

“In addition to a community-owned wind project which is already operational, we have submitted a planning application for a 24MW windfarm at Glenmuckloch.”

The company has submitted plans with its joint venture partner, 2020 Renewables, for a 400MW pumped storage hydro scheme on the same site, again hoping for approval this summer.

“Were this project to proceed, it would create 270 local construction jobs for a build period of five to seven years, which would be a major development for the area,” Mr Glen added.

“We have also announced scoping for two further potential wind farm developments in the North Lowther Hills and at Hopsrig, both in Dumfries and Galloway. Combined, these would make a significant contribution to Scotland’s green energy targets.”

During the year the business established a new holding company, The MDS Estates, to encompass all businesses within the Buccleuch group.

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