Year starts well for Murray Capital amid turmoil
Murray Capital, the metals, property and wine distribution business, has posted its best set of results in recent times and said the current financial year has started well.
After recording double-digit growth in turnover, profit, and shareholder funds in the year to the end of June, managing director David D Murray, said trading in the first quarter was “encouraging”.
However, he said he is “mindful of the wider economic turmoil and the general sense of nervousness about the year ahead.”
Profit before tax rose 31% from £9.8m to £12.8m on turnover from continued operations up 11% from £83.5m to £92.8m, driven primarily by increased steel prices in the company’s metals group. Shareholders’ funds grow year-on-year from £35.5m to £43.9m, an annual return of 23%.
In March last year, Sir David Murray handed ownership to his sons, David and Keith.
Commenting on the trading performance, David D Murray said: “We are very pleased to post our best set of results for a number of years, although we do so with our feet planted firmly on the ground given the cyclical nature of our businesses and the current economic uncertainties in UK and global markets.
“The performance of the metals business is particularly encouraging, given the investment we made in restructuring that business during 2020.
“The current financial year has also started well, with encouraging trading results in the first quarter, although we are mindful of the wider economic turmoil and the general sense of nervousness about the year ahead.
“Being family-owned, with no external third-party debt, allows us to take a long-term and patient view, which we believe will be necessary as the cost of money increases and higher inflation continues to impact the environment in which we operate.
“We remain optimistic though, and will continue to focus on the things we can control and to build on the solid foundations we have developed across the Group over many years.”
Operational highlights during the year to 30 June 2022:
- The increased profitability for the year was driven mainly by improved trading in the metals group (comprised of two main businesses – Murray Steels and Hillfoot Steel – both of which had a record year of profitability) and the sale of 12 acres of consented land at Ratho Station to Taylor Wimpey.
- Murray Capital made a number of new and follow-on investments in support of its portfolio of businesses as the group continues to pursue a diversified and sustainable business.
- The largest new investment made during the period was into Wavegarden, a £55m landmark development using revolutionary new technology to build Scotland’s first inland surfing destination on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
- In April 2022, the group sold its longstanding investment in Capito, an IT services business, to XMA, one of the UK’s largest IT resellers.
Highlights in the three months since the end of June include:
- Murray Estates secured final outline planning for its Edinburgh Garden District development, comprising 1,350 homes – which includes family and affordable accommodation – a primary school, commercial and retail centre, and supporting infrastructure. Work should begin next year.
- The team is currently reviewing its options for the remaining 520 acres of land on that site in light of the ongoing planning issues in Edinburgh and the overall housing market dynamics.
- Plans for a 23-acre site at the Edinburgh International Business Gateway, next to Edinburgh Airport, were called in for review by the Scottish Government in May 2019 and remain on hold, pending approval from ministers. It is hoped that this will progress in 2023.
- In August, the business sold 5.5 acres at its Kingdom Park site in Kirkcaldy to Persimmon Homes. This completes phases one and two. Focus now moves to phases three, four and five, which includes more than 500 additional new homes, a retail park, primary school and support infrastructure.
Murray Capital Holdings continues to provide support to the Murray Family Foundation, which was established in 2017 to make charitable donations to a number of causes at the discretion of its trustees.
The group plans to increase its focus on and contributions to the Foundation during the course of this year and beyond.
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