Catesby pre-tax profits for the first half amounted to £4.4 million after overheads. 

EPRA uplifts on new consents added £2.5 million. 

Netting out EPRA reversals on disposals and tax meant that there was no material change in net assets. 

The current moratorium on land acquisitions announced by several listed housebuilders and the procedural chaos in many planning authorities caused by the inability to conduct public meetings is likely to restrict immediate performance. 

The base case is for no further disposals until 2021, although the signs already are that may prove overly pessimistic.  Several competitors, notably those carrying bank debt, are having to retrench. 

In contrast, Catesby is continuing to build pipeline with terms settled on 6 new land promotions prospectively totalling 1000 new homes.  Again, entry premiums are low and the percentage participations somewhat better than we have seen for some time.  The number of residences being promoted by Catesby will soon exceed 15,000. 

Commenting on the results, Nigel Hugill, Chief Executive, said:

"Actions speak louder than words. This is the first time that the Urban&Civic Master Developer Model has been tested under stress.  Prevailing uncertainties are providing exceptional opportunities to enlarge our strategic portfolio, with minimal acquisition risk.  We have secured land holdings for two potential new settlements in the last fortnight.  Government backing on projects in delivery has been terrific in enabling us prudently to maintain and accelerate spend.  As the housebuilders rebuild output, the reasonable presumption is that capital lite, serviced plots will be at the top of their want list.  Whatever the behavioural changes from this awful pandemic, it is hard to see well-planned housing with gardens, good connections, great schools, decent broadband and guaranteed access to green spaces being disadvantaged.  Witness four new licences and land sales signed since March."

Financial highlights -

EPRA net assets per share + large site discount (335.1p + 145p) = 480.1p at 31 March 2020: 3.1 per cent down on September 2019 year end but marginally up over 12 months.

Group share of current contracted forward revenues increased to £107.7 million (30 September 2019: £101.7 million).         

Headline EPRA net asset value per share down 1.6 per cent over the year at 335.1p (31 March 2019: 340.6p; 30 September 2019: 360.3p), reflecting valuation uncertainties in light of Covid-19 crisis.

EPRA triple net asset value per share 318.3p down 1.3 per cent from 31 March 2019 (30 September 2019: 339.5p).

Large site discount highest ever at £212 million (43 per cent of EPRA NAV); or 145p per share.

Profit before tax for the six months to 31 March 2020 £0.2 million (six months to 31 March 2019: £5.1 million); fall predominantly due to property revaluations.

Decision to pay an interim dividend postponed, having regard to the deferral of cash receipts associated with residential sales.

 Operational highlights -

Platform advantage as preeminent Master Developer providing unusually attractive project opportunities consequent upon Covid-19 disruptions in the land market.

2 new strategic sites, prospectively adding a minimum of 10,000 new homes to pipeline.

Terms settled on 6 new land promotions by Catesby for a further prospective 1,000 units.

3 new licences + a land sale totalling 594 plots signed since March; 3 medium/ large private housebuilders and 1 public; 1 existing and 3 new customers.

Delivery spend supported by £96 million of new Government and Homes England facilities.

Continued to work through lockdown.

£18.6 million post balance sheet sale of accommodation at Waterbeach converted to housing for medical staff from Papworth Hospital Trust exceeded valuation.  £18.2 million of proceeds received by Urban&Civic to clear all amounts previously advanced at Waterbeach.

 View the full presentation here.