St. Modwen Chief Says Manufacturers Want More Space

U.K. companies are looking for additional office, store and factory space as the economy recovers from the worst recession since World War II, according to St. Modwen Properties Plc, a U.K. developer that rebuilds town centers and industrial areas.

St. Modwen, based in Birmingham, submitted a planning application to develop a town center at Longbridge, including a food store and a hotel, on the site of a former car factory in central England, according to a statement today.

“We are seeing a steady increase in demand in the regions from larger manufacturers,” Chief Executive Officer Bill Oliver said in a telephone interview. “These sorts of companies are doing OK and are picking up. We are seeing a strengthening of our development work in the commercial sector.”

In addition to the pick-up in commercial development, St. Modwen expects the value of its residential land to improve over the next three years as the company gains planning approval and the economy improves.

“People are writing off everything outside London and anything that could be described as secondary,” Oliver said. “Our trade is secondary properties and you can run a good portfolio in the secondary world.”

St. Modwen reported net income of 37.2 million pounds ($60.1 million), or 18.6 pence a share, for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, the company said today. That compared with a loss of 101.1 million pounds, or 59.7 pence, a year earlier. Net asset value rose 9 percent to 218 pence a share.

The results were “slightly better than expected,” JPMorgan Chase & Co analyst Osmaan Malik said in a note to investors today.

St. Modwen rose 2 pence, or 1.2 percent, to 171.2 pence at 10:02 a.m. in London trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh News at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.

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