John Laing ups asset value as profit slumps

Michael Bow
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Hitachi trains are UK-bound with John Laing backing
JOHN Laing made a solid start to life as a listed company, yesterday revealing a 6.6 per cent increase in net asset value.

Overall net asset values rose to £822m from £771m six months earlier, giving an NAV of 224p per share. But currency headwinds cost the group’s portfolio £21m in value and contributed to a 68 percent slump in pre-tax profit to £32.6m.

The infrastructure and property development group disappointed by indicating its full year investments would be in the “lower half” of the £150m to £200m range.

New infrastructure investments totalled £72m in the six months to 30 June, with cash ploughed into the Sydney Light Rail project and two onshore wind farms in Ireland and Sweden.

The group sold £54m worth of investments including a stake in a Birmingham mental health facility.

The group is currently engaged in helping finance the UK’s Intercity Express Programme, which will put 122 new hi-spec Hitachi trains on a number of lines including the East Coast Main Line.

Chief executive Olivier Brousse said: “Our focus has been on investment commitments and realisations, which are on track to meet our targets for the full year, alongside enhancing the value of our existing investments.”

John Laing floated on the London stock market in February at 195p a share and closed trading yesterday at 210p.

The group announced a maiden interim dividend of 1.6p a share.