2015: No.12= - £450m
2014: No.14 - £440m

Speculative development is finally returning to the commercial property market after several years of stagnation, causing shortages of high quality commercial building stock. And Lord Bob Edmiston’s Coleshill-based IM Properties is leading the way.

IM has begun building a speculative distribution/industrial unit, which includes two floors of Grade A office space, on Solihull Business Park. The decision followed a successful pre-let of another speculative unit on the park to John Lewis.

IM is also building a 153,000 sq ft speculative industrial unit on its award-winning Birch Coppice Business Park near Tamworth due to be finished in March. This is the second speculative unit built on the park in less than a year – the first was quickly let.

IM has reported another strong year of pre-tax profits. They are slightly down on the previous year, but healthy nonetheless. IM declared pre-tax profits of £16.6 million up to December 2013.

Business in the UK continues to be brisk, while, in Munich, IM Properties has concluded the disposal of the logistics hub for vehicle giant BMW in a deal worth more than £36 million. The prestige project – BMW’s largest non-production facility – represented the biggest deal to date for award-winning IM Properties on mainland Europe. The 99,000 sq m distribution facility was sold to a private consortium. IM has also sold a number of logistics properties in Germany to Valad Europe for £21.4 million.

Back in the UK, IM Properties has paid £21 million for the Fore Business Park near Solihull. The site includes 66,000 sq ft of office accommodation and six acres of development land with planning permission for two more office buildings. The company also sold two units on Birch Coppice Industrial Park in Tamworth for £34 million.

In the year to December 31, 2013, IM Properties reported rental incomes of £37.7 million with occupancy levels of 95 per cent. This is 11 per cent up on the previous year. The firm has an investment portfolio worth than £457 million, with £35 million of assets as “trading stock” with an expectation of a sale in the near future.

The company’s bespoke residential arm, Spitfire Properties LLP, celebrated its third full year of trading with rapid expansion, with more than 25 sites under its control with construction underway on developments at Little Aston, Solihull, Bath and Ascot among others.

Meanwhile, things are progressing well at IM Group’s other major business – its automotive arm, which imports Subaru, Daihatsu, Great Wall and Isuzu vehicles. In total, the IM Group is worth more than £452 million.

The Group continues to support Lord Edmiston’s charity Christian Vision with substantial donations from its bottom line. Lord Edmiston remains in the top ten list of Britain’s biggest philanthropists, having donated to religious, humanitarian and educational charities through Christian Vision. He donated £36 million in 2013 and, since 1998, he has donated well over £200 million to various causes. He is also a significant donor to the Conservative Party.

Christian Vision sponsors three city academies in the Midlands including the Grace Academies in Darlaston, Solihull and Coventry. Teaching is based on Christian principles, encouraging decency, respect and compassion.

A former finance director at the failed Jensen Motors, Lord Edmiston used his £6,000 redundancy pay to set up International Motors in 1974. He began as the world’s only distributor for Jensen parts before acquiring the franchises for Subaru and Isuzu.

The IM group is housed on a purpose-built 200-acre site in Coleshill which is the headquarters of its global operations.

Sixty-eight-year-old Lord Edmiston is a committed and active Christian and began Christian Vision in 1988. This charity has helped families and children around the globe, and has a presence in the US, Brazil, Chile, Zambia, Mozambique, Australia, East Timor and Angola.

IM Properties recently bought the Blythe Valley Business Park in Solihull out of receivership for nearly £125 million.