Property firm Bruntwood, which owns a number of office buildings in Liverpool, reports 68% surge in pre-tax profits to £75.2m. Tony McDonough reports
Annual pre-tax profits rocketed by 68% to £75.2m at Bruntwood, one of the strongest results in the family property firm’s 46-year history.
Although the Manchester business, which owns a significant property portfolio in Liverpool, has yet to release its latest full-year results on Companies House, it has released a number of figures to the media.
Turnover for the 12 months to September 30, 2022, was £142.4m. This compares to £122.6m for the same period to September 2021.
They show that a major driver behind the numbers was the growth in income from its Bruntwood SciTech 50/50 joint venture with Legal & General. This had the best year since its formation in 2018.
In May 2020 the division paid £12m for a 25% stake in Sciontec Liverpool. Other partners in the venture are Liverpool City Council, Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Liverpool.
Sciontec operates Liverpool Science Park, the recently completed The Spine office building in Paddington Village and is behind plans for a new £35m net zero office building in the city’s Knowledge Quarter called HEMISPHERE.
Bruntwood Group is also the owner and operator of office buildings in Liverpool’s central business district. These include The Plaza, which has just undergone a £3m refurbishment, the Cotton Exchange and Queens Insurance Building.
In August 2022, the business sold Burlington House, a 65,000 sq ft office building in Crosby Road North in Waterloo. Bruntwood had owned the site for 25 years. It was sold to Tracey Investments in a £5.8m deal.
Across the group, net asset value rose by more than 10% to £671.5m (2021: £606.5m). The value of its combined portfolio, including Bruntwood SciTech assets, reached £2bn (2021: £1.8bn).
Within the Bruntwood SciTech portfolio, it unveiled a £76.2m investment into the purchase and regeneration of Glasgow’s Met Tower, to create a new tech and digital campus and marking Bruntwood and Bruntwood SciTech’s first development in Scotland.
Demand for flexible workspace continued to strengthen with occupancy averaging 90% across the year in Bruntwood’s Works portfolio. Plans to expand the availability of its serviced space product are included in the Plaza.
It also launched Net Zero Pathway, a strategy to achieve its sustainability ambitions. As part of this it acquired a stake in the Kirk Hill wind farm that will see most of its energy needs, such as to operate its own offices and common spaces, come from a renewable source.
Chief executive Chris Oglesby said: “We have always looked beyond the short term to base our investments around the strategic trends we see reshaping our towns and cities.
“This approach, from the formation of Bruntwood SciTech in 2018 to the Pioneer programme of forward-thinking, flexible workspaces that we launched long-before the pandemic, is the foundation of this year’s strong financial performance.
“We have aligned our products and proposition with the businesses and organisations driving the future of the UK economy in innovation-linked sectors such tech and digital, life sciences and their supporting ecosystems.
“We will continue to focus our energies on investing in assets, whether that’s for Bruntwood SciTech or Works, in such a way that meets the needs of modern business and industry, targeting growth into new and existing cities around the UK.”
Every year Bruntwood and the Oglesby family shareholders donate more than 10% of distributable annual profits to philanthropic and community causes.