COMMERCIAL property firm Bruntwood saw pre-tax profits rise by 42 per cent to £16.8m in its last financial year, with chief executive Chris Oglesby predicting that 2014 will be the company’s busiest year ever.
Family-run Bruntwood has more than 110 office buildings across Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham.
It said that its pre-tax profit figure of £16.8m for the year ending September 2013 did not include expectional items relating to costs incurred as part of its £600m refinancing deal.
Bruntwood said that its “robust” performance reflected an increase in occupancy rates with over half a million square feet of space let in 2013, including 25 per cent of the Manchester city centre office market.
Performance across Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool was also strong, said Bruntwood.
Bruntwood’s net worth fell to £286.4m, down five per cent from 2012.
In Leeds, the recently redeveloped 100 Wellington Street was fully let in six months, whilst in the Liverpool market Bruntwood secured one of the largest lettings of the year with the expansion of Bosch at The Plaza.
Mr Oglesby said: “Refinancing around £600m of debt, secured by property valuations right at the bottom of the cycle, has been a significant achievement that enables us to focus on the future.
“Whilst this recession has been tough, our major regional cities emerge stronger from it and I am more optimistic about their future than I have been at any other time.”
In 2010, Bruntwood bought City House, which stands next to Leeds train station, and obtained planning permission to redevelop the 14-storey building, which dates from 1962 and has been empty for some time.
Craig Burrow, director of Bruntwood Leeds, said yesterday: “We continue to work with Network Rail to bring forward the transformation of City House as part of the wider improvements to Leeds Station.
“It’s an integral part of the overall offering of this gateway to the city and we’re in dialogue with a number of office occupiers to secure a partial pre-let to commence development of the planning approved scheme.”