Annual pretax profits have shot up for Halladale, the property investment group which is looking to refurbish and expand Queens Square Shopping Centre in West Bromwich.
The group yesterday raised its dividend for the year to April 30 by 31 per cent after pretax profit jumped 60 per cent to £6.29 million from £3.92 million.
There is a final dividend payment of 2.4p per share for a total payout of 3.8p, up from 2.9p.
Halladale, which is seeking planning approval for a 100,000 sq ft extension at Queens Square, said it had seen significant growth across all key performance indicators.
Chief executive David Lockhart said: "As an asset-backed earnings business, we look forward to continuing to deliver enhanced returns to shareholders."
He said the year under review had seen very high activity, with aggregate value of acquisitions and sales exceeding £450 million.
At the year end the group's development programme had an estimated value on completion in excess of £500 million, compared to £260 million the previous year. Shareholders were told that the group's stronger balance sheet now enabled it to access larger projects which bring greater economies of scale. The average project size has increased from £8 million last year to £10 million at the year end.
Halladale added that it expects strong investor demand to continue to support the UK property investment market, although it believes that there is limited scope for further hardening of yields.
It also said it believes that the office sector, particularly in London and the South-east, will provide better prospects for rental growth over the next couple of years and it is continuing to identify attractive opportunities in that sector.
Halladale added that the likely introduction of REITS in January 2007 will provide significant opportunities for the UK property industry and it is an area they are looking at with interest.
Shares closed up 3p at 136.5.