City Lofts, the AIM-listed urban mixed-used property developer, was in confident mood yesterday after posting lower than expected halftime losses.
The group, which is moving into the West Midlands via a project at Sutton Coldfield, said pretax losses for the six months to September 30 came in at £2.255 million, below the £2.5 million previously indicated. In the same period last year it made a profit of £115,000.
The interim dividend payment rises five per cent, from 2.49p to 2.61p per share.
Chief executive Stuart Wright told shareholders: "The group has been investing in additional internal resources, especially in its management team and particularly in project management and sales and marketing, to lay the foundations for a significant expansion of the City Lofts city centre residential development business.
"We continue to view the future with confidence."
Chairman John Holt said that during the six month period there were no new sales completions from existing developments currently under construction.
"This will also be the situation in the new financial period of nine months ending December 31, 2005," he added.
"However, this has been a very busy period for City Lofts and there has been considerable positive activity laying the foundations for growth."
The group now has six development projects on site, building 901 apartments with a gross development value of £183 million.
"Building completions are expected to commence progressively from March 2006 through to July 2007, and therefore sales turnover for the year ending December 31, 2006 is expected to be between £100 million and £120 million, with the balance occurring in the following year," Mr Holt added.
Two mixed projects will start on site next year, including the £79.4 million scheme to built 295 apartments, plus significant retail and leisure space, at Park Point, Sutton Coldfield.
"We are being offered many new opportunities and, currently lawyers have been instructed on eight new potential development projects," Mr Holt said.
" Long term investor demand for our apartments remains strong as evidenced by our 68 per cent forward sales position on the developments launched for sale currently under construction.
"We continue to remain confident about meeting our expectations in 2006 and directors look forward to bringing current developments to completion and getting others underway."
City Lofts struck a deal with Midlands-based Cala Group to take over the Park Point site at Brassington Avenue, Sutton Coldfield, in July.
Work is expected to be completed by May 2008.