Outlook positive for J Smart after first–half profits boost

J Smart_logoBuilding contractor J Smart is confident its annual underlying profits will be in line with last year, after enjoying a jump in first-half earnings.

However, the Edinburgh-based group said too many uncertainties remain in play to accurately predict headline profit for the year to the end of July.

J Smart posted a £559,000 pre-tax profit for the six months to 31 January, up from £441,000 a year earlier.

Revenue rose to £9 million from £8.5m, despite residential sales falling in the half due to a lull between development starts. The company said, however, that forward sales from its City Park Development in Edinburgh were “promising”.

The company will pay a flat interim dividend of 0.92 pence per share, it said.

J Smart said its order pipeline looks positive for the second half, though it said margins continue to prove a challenge. Private residential sales are holding up well, but sales numbers for the year will be lower than in 2013, the company said.

It expects to restart industrial development work by autumn.

Occupancy levels and letting prospects for its industrial properties are “healthy”, but the company said void levels in its office properties remain unacceptably high, despite an improvement in letting prospects.

J Smart shares were up 0.6 per cent to 91.50 pence on Thursday.

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