Miller Homes to focus on Central Belt with new sales target

Finance director Ian Murdoch (left) and chief executive Chris Endsor
Finance director Ian Murdoch (left) and chief executive Chris Endsor

Miller Homes is aiming to grow annual sales volumes in Scotland by at least one-third by 2020 with a focus on the Central Belt.

Reporting its latest annual results, the firm said the launch of a new operation in the ­Midlands would help it achieve its goal of 4,000 units a year by the end of the decade.

The ambitious growth plan was revealed as the ­Edinburgh-headquartered housebuilder announced a 44% jump in pre-tax profit to £89 million from a 13% rise in revenue to £565m.

The improvement, which saw the firm top the £100m operating profit mark for the first time, saw margins swell to 18%, one year earlier than planned.

Chief executive Chris ­Endsor played down the impact of last June’s Brexit vote saying the company “didn’t miss a beat” during the second half of 2016 with sales “substantially up” on a year earlier.

In 2016, Miller Homes completed a total of 2,380 homes, up 11% on the previous year, of which 348 were affordable homes. Scotland accounted for 612 completions; North of England, 953 completions; and Midlands & South England delivered 815 new homes.

Mr Endsor said the firm is aiming to sell 800 homes in Scotland in 2020 but he thinks that figure could easily rise to 1,000.

He added: “2016 was an outstanding year for Miller Homes delivering operating profit in excess of £100m for the first time. We outperformed on all key financial metrics for the fifth consecutive year which confirms the strength of our regional markets, our strong customer service and the successful execution of our strategic plan.

“2016 was dominated by speculation around the shape of Brexit both before and after the vote. This had no discernible impact on the business which continued to perform strongly in the second half of 2016, with sales rates 17% ahead of the prior year. Additionally, modest levels of house price inflation were delivered throughout the year.

“We are currently 55% forward sold for 2017, with continued confidence on the back of our strong presence and successful operating model in our regional housing markets. A substantial land investment programme is planned in 2017, alongside the launch of a new region in the Midlands. Our organic growth strategy will deliver a 68% increase in the capacity of the business to 4,000 homes per year with plans to deliver this by 2020.”

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