Shrewd investments and good asset management have been the key to almost 50 successful years as a listed company for A&J Mucklow, according to its chief executive, after the West Midlands property firm announced a 19 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the first six months of its year.
During the second half of 2011 the Halesowen-based company saw the value of its assets slip slightly to £184.3 million but its occupancy rates rose by nearly one per cent to 93.5 per cent with rental income rising from £8.5 million to £9.7 million.
The interim dividend has risen by three per cent to 8.52p per share.
The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1962 and has seen the ordinary dividend increase in 45 of the past 50 years with £1,000 of shares at its original float now worth around £1.6 million.
Chairman Rupert Mucklow said he felt some shrewd acquisitions had helped deliver a pleasing performance. “Twelve months ago we bought quite a lot of good quality investment properties,” he said. “More than £3.5 million rental income has been added, which added £1 million on our bottom line. That has clearly helped us massively.”
Reflecting on the firm’s consistent dividend increase throughout its history Mr Mucklow added: “We have survived four recessions since 1962 and come out quite well.
“It is very much linked to the returns we get on our property investment portfolio and how we manage it. We aim to try and get a return of nine per cent plus out of our property portfolio plus a dividend of six per cent and get high dividends every year.
“Clearly for 50 years our returns have been good to provide high yielding dividends. We are entering our second half century as a listed company in very good shape. “
Mr Mucklow also said he was optimistic as regards business in the Midlands.
“Things generally in the Midlands are going pretty well,” he added. “Our void rate, generally a good indicator, has been improving for the last three or four years.
“I do feel there is a little more confidence in the occupier market given the level of enquiries we have had and very few insolvencies.
“Generally things seem to have picked up a bit over the last 12 months. Things are looking a lot better than they were 12 months ago or six months ago.
“I don’t think things have suddenly turned around but confidence of businesses we deal with seems a little bit better than in the past.
“Certainly in the Midlands things have just turned the corner. Things will get better but it is going to take a while.”
Mucklow is currently part of the regeneration of Tyseley scheme for which a planning decision is expected on shortly.
“The Tyseley planning application is in so it’s out of our hands now,” added Mr Mucklow. “This is a major redevelopment just three miles from Birmingham city centre and I hope planners will see it favourably.
“There has been extensive consultation with the local community, we have put together the best possible use of 33 acres and it would create local jobs.”
As to the future he said: “We plan to pretty much carry on what we have been doing for the last 50 years and try and keep adding to it, churning properties and maximising returns. We are a pretty quiet and boring company - we only employ 12 people – but we just get on and carry on developing and managing the assets we own.”