The chairman of Midlands regeneration specialists St Modwen Properties said many developers were using the "credit crunch" as an excuse - and promised 2008 would be profitable for the firm, despite market difficulties.
Speaking after the announcement of record profits, Anthony Glossop said he was bullish about the prospects for the coming year, despite signs pointing to a further hardening of the property market.
Quinton-based St Modwen - which is developing dozens of sites in the UK including Longbridge and the proposed "eco town" at Long Marston, Warwickshire - posted unprecedented pre-tax profits of £100.1 million yesterday.
"We are very pleased, because not only are they record results, but they also felt the impact of the first real foretaste of the downturn in investment property values," said Mr Glossop.
"We achieved these results despite having allowed for a £32 million downturn in the value of the company."
He added the property market had been a tough place to operate in recently - and would be getting worse over the coming year - but said developers should not complain.
He said: "At the moment the question of market difficulties is coming entirely from the fact that the values in 2006 and early 2007 were unsustainable.
"People were paying too much and therefore valuations reflected that. People may have been using the credit crunch as an excuse but the fact was, as in any market, if prices go up too high they then come down. That's why you are seeing a correction now.
"We expect in the first half of this year we believe there will be another £35 million lost from the company's value.
"But it's up to us to claw that back by development or by asset management and unlike everyone else we are saying 2008 - though difficult - will be profitable."
Admitting that previous targets of doubling St Modwen's asset value every year were now unfeasible, Mr Glossop said there was still potential for growth during and after the market squeeze.
He said the days of 20 per cent growth were over, but there was still potential for growth in the single digits, especially if the company made canny use of its assets.
"We will not be changing in a strategic way, but tactically, we will set the hurdle for regeneration schemes, we will be more commercial and we will address the cost side of things more commercially. We will just sharpen up our performance all round," he said.
"We can do that because we are always working on property. A lot of property companies just hold on to land but we never buy a property just to hold on to it."
He added the company expected the worst of the market difficulties to have turned around by 2010 at the latest.
St Modwen, which owns or manages more than 5,000 acres of developable land in the UK, saw the value of its portfolio rise nearly nine per cent to £1.13 billion in 2007.
Analysts described its results as "strong and realistic", and said the sheer diversity of the St Modwen portfolio still made it a good bet for investment.
The company is still working on the massive regeneration project at the Longbridge site. It has nearly finished pumping away about 100,000 gallons of fuel that seeped into the ground from a factory leak.
And the team there hopes to continue with the next stages of the plan if they are given planning permission following an inspection of the site this summer.
As well as Longbridge and Long Marston, projects include a 1,000-acre mixed-use scheme on the former BP site in Coed Darcy, South Wales and the Thames Gateway, located to the east of London.
The positive figures have revived rumours that St Modwen could become a target for equity-rich buyers keen to access its massive landbank and a long-term UK town centre development pipeline, although the firm denies this.