St Modwen cashes in on fast-growing logistics sector as asset values rise

Sebastian McCarthy
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Logistical assets such as warehouses have grown in value amid the take-up of space from e-commerce giants like Amazon (Source: Getty)

Property group St Modwen posted a full-year rise in the value of its assets this morning, amid efforts to dispose of struggling retail sites and focus instead on Britain’s fast-growing logistics sector.

The Birmingham-based developer said that it sold over half of its retail portfolio for £177m in the 12 months to 30 November last year, underlining the group’s move away from shopping centres and high streets in the wake of severe challenging facing Britain’s retail sector.

St Modwen’s bid to tap into a warehouse boom largely spurred on by the rise of online giants such as Amazon was also reinforced in today’s trading results, with the group saying it had increased its committed pipeline to industrial and logistics development from 1m square feet to 1.5m square feet.

Since the launch of its new strategy 18 months ago, St Modwen has sold off £814m of assets, marking over 40 per cent of initial portfolio.

Shares in the property investment giant, which reported a 4.3 per cent uplift in net asset values (NAV) per share in the 12 months to 30 November, nudged up 1.5 per cent in early morning trading.

Meanwhile, profits climbed from £60.1m to £60.5m over the same period.

Chief executive Mark Allan said: “2018 has been another positive year for us. With £529m of disposals, we made substantial progress on our objective to focus our portfolio on sectors with the best structural growth prospects and reduce our borrowings, whilst we continued to grow housebuilding volumes and industrial and logistics development activity.”

Allan added: “Despite the ongoing uncertainty in the wider UK economy, structural growth drivers in these two key sectors remain positive, so following the significant repositioning over the past 18 months, we are now well placed to deliver a meaningful improvement in our return on capital and earnings in the coming years.”