Construction
2015: No.37 £98m
2014: No.44 £70m
             

Rupert Mucklow is seeing the benefits of an upturn in the Midlands industrial property sector , but it will be a while before his company starts developing new space speculatively. He is waiting for rents to rise above £6 a square foot – some way above their current average.

As chairman of Cradley Heath-based A&J Mucklow Group – one of the region’s leading industrial property companies – he has reported that occupancy rates were running at an increased 93.8 per cent and rents were hardening on vacant industrial property due to shortage of available space and occupier demand. He believes rents on prime and good secondary industrial properties are poised to grow for the first time in 15 years. All this is good news for A & J Mucklow which has been having a busy time of late. Pre-tax profits for the year to June 2014 were £40.7 million a 150 per cent increase on 2013’s figure of £16.3 million. The firm’s portfolio value increased from £262.7 million to £289.9 million.

Mucklows acquired two investment properties in the first half of the year in Halesowen and Kings Heath, paying £6.71 million. The company has also started pre-let development in Worcester and acquired and refurbished a vacant industrial building on Redfern Park, Tyseley.

The company is also marketing industrial developments in Coleshill, Brierley Hill, Aston, Stirchley, Wednesbury and Rugby.

Rupert Mucklow, aged 50, has been executive chairman of A&J Mucklow since 2004 when his father, Albert, stepped down. In 2007 the firm converted to a Real Estate Investment Trust. The Mucklow family has a 31.7 per cent stake in the business worth £87 million.

A&J Mucklow, founded in 1933, began life as a housebuilder but in the 1960s – having gone public in 1962 – moved away from homes and concentrated on investing in and developing industrial, commercial and retail property.

Over the intervening years Mucklow has ridden out the ups and downs of the property market. A long term strategy of maintaining a portfolio of properties with potential for long-term rental and capital growth is balanced against a short-term strategy which is more opportunistic, acquiring when values are low and disposing when investment values are more robust.

The company is still very much a family business with the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the company’s founders holding shares.