Henry Boot, the property development, construction and plant hire group, says it is eyeing up the West Midlands.

It is "actively looking for opportunities" in the region. Its only real presence is Mier Park at Stoke-on-Trent where it has a swathe of land avail-able for development and has built a major unit for B&Q.

Markham Vale, a 200-acre industrial werehouse, distribution and office scheme is due to launch shortly just off the M1 in Derbyshire, while The Axis at Nottingham is nearing completion.

Full year pretax profit rose t o £30.2 million from £23.2 million. Total revenues were up £16.9 million at £101.2 million.

The full year dividend is 19 pence against 16.4p while the group said it is on course to meet its full year targets.

John Reis, chairman, said Boot was going "from strength to strength" and had put in a "very creditable and solid performance". It has landholdings of 6,500 acres.

But Boot voiced concern at the Government's controversial Planning-Gain Supplement, which many in the industry have attacked as a poorly thought out tax which is liable to result in a develop-ment slowdown.

It stated: "The company's reputation in promoting land through the planning process continues to grow, and this is bringing in an increasing number of enquiries and opportunities from land owners and their agents.

"We are participating in and closely following the consultation process relating to the proposed introduction of the Government's Planning-Gain Supplement, and its possible impact on future Section 106 A greements with local authorities.

"If enforced in their present form, these policies will undoubtedly bring problems in the Government's attempts to deal with the present housing shortage, particularly if, as a result, land owners are dissuaded from releasing land due to penal tax consequences. Our hope is that Government will take some note of what the industry is telling them, and act accordingly."

Boot said its construction division had exceeded its profit before tax target for the year despite a shortfall in revenue.

It went on: "Having secured a number of framework contracts with the public sector and quality private clients, both income and profit levels are projected to increase during the current year.

"This increase will be achieved principally through a concentration of work for the prison and probation services, local authority education departments, social housing and estate regeneration programmes as well as new and refurbished healthcare facilities for the NHS and private health organisations."

Net assets per ordinary share of £4.69 compare with the previous year's figure of £4.19, a 12 per cent increase.

Mr Reis said: "The new year has started well and, with a number of profitable transactions having already been identified, we are on course to meet our 2006 targets.

"With gearing levels at the end of 2005 well below 20 per cent, we have the resources to pursue existing and new business through to a successful conclusion."