Solihull based IM Properties Group has seen an increase in the end of year profits despite the global pandemic, with a profit before tax of £28.2m, 18% up on 2019, with a turnover of c. £230 million.
The rise in profits comes even after accounting for a net £22m write down across its standing investment portfolio due to the effects of COVID, demonstrating the resilience of IM Properties’ well-diversified investments.
With £109m cash reserves at year-end to December 31, 2020, the company continues to seek new opportunities after realigning its portfolio, turning its focus to more sustainable investments.
Its commercial development division currently has the capacity to deliver up to 15 million sq ft of logistics space, primarily around the Midlands with an economic return (GDV) in excess of £1.5bn.
Key projects in the region now on-site or starting will create 10,000 or more jobs, including landmark schemes – Mercia Park at junction 11, M42 and Peddimore in Birmingham.
Mercia secured the largest ever single occupier letting in the UK, delivering a 2.94 million sq ft global logistics hub for Jaguar Land Rover and Peddimore, which is set to be one of the UK’s most significant new manufacturing and logistic schemes, with advanced talks underway with another major occupier.
A shift in focus has seen IM Properties reduce its exposure to retail and offices over time, including more recently the sale of Mell Square Shopping Centre and the commercial elements of Blythe Valley Park, both in Solihull.
Tim Wooldridge, managing director of IM Properties said whilst the type of asset invested in had changed, creating high quality, sustainable working environments which offer both a positive social and economic value was still central.
“If there’s one thing the past 18 months has highlighted, people’s wellbeing is core to everyone’s business and just as we’ve worked hard to look after and protect our team throughout the pandemic, occupiers too have realigned their vision of the workplace.
“We learnt a lot from the delivery of Blythe Valley Park and the appeal to modern occupiers of a scheme with wellbeing at its core and a high-quality working environment with strong amenities and green open spaces.
“Blythe attracted two of the region’s fastest-growing global brands, Gymshark & Lounge, who both took in excess of 100,000 sq ft across several buildings.”
Wooldridge continued, “We’re taking many of its influences on to our new manufacturing and logistic schemes to create an industry benchmark in a bid to retain and attract high-quality employers to the region.
“As part of this journey, sustainability clearly has to be at the forefront. We’ve invested in a substantial review of all our operations and I’ve got to admit it’s taken us longer than we expected to arrive at our future goals.
“This is because the subject of sustainability is of such importance to the business and our collective future that it needs to be engrained into everything we do. Our roadmap to Net Zero will be set out later in the year alongside a range of sustainability targets.”
Wooldridge added: “The same is true of our commitment to social value, with over £500,000 of active community funds delivering grants to grassroot organisations and programmes already in place to procure locally and support local economies.
“Peddimore for example, only starts on site this month and already over £40,000 of a £270,000 community fund has been delivered and we’ve actively been engaging with key stakeholders in the region on employment and skills.”
IM Properties housebuilding division, Spitfire Homes also reported a turnover of £89m, up 27% on 2019. With planning permission for 533 plots, up from 318 in 2019 , its future focus is on larger sites offering greater economies of scale.
Wooldridge concluded: “Against the backdrop of an extremely challenging year, IM Properties has remained resilient, stable and focused on a long-term future which is right for the business its people, the planet and the places it develops in.”