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Chase gets commercial boost

FINANCE Office development offsets drop in contracting turnover as profits rise to £2.3 million in 2005

A STRONG performance from its commercial development arm offset a weaker housing market and a drop in contracting turnover last year at Solihull-based construction group Chase Midland.

Last year pre-tax profits at Chase Midland firmed £65,000 to £1.8 million as turnover rose to £82 million from £78.6 million.

Group managing director Steve Allkins said: 'This was an exceptional year for Chase Commercial partly due to the sale of its Edmund Street development in the centre of Birmingham. Within six months of completing building works, it was fully let and sold for £37.5 million to German investors.'

The group, which employs more than 200 people and is owned by Rod Ackrill, raised operating profits in 2005 by £67,000 to £2.3 million.

Contracting arm Chase Norton was again profitable despite workload falling.

Mr Allkins said: 'There were some client delays in awarding contracts to commence on site during 2005, explaining the slight decline in turnover from 2004. Activity is increasing to planned levels.'

Chase's recently formed affordable housing operation also made a 'significant' contribution to overall prof its and sales at private arm Chase Homes have stabilised in the first half of this year.

Mr Allkins said: 'With regard to Chase Homes, on the basis that the market had started to slow down in 2004, the board took the decision to reduce acquisition of land for new housing projects in 2005.

'In line with the rest of the industry, Chase Homes experienced a challenging year as confidence in the housing market weakened resulting in a slower sales rate, which has deferred sales from 2005 to 2006.'

Chase Homes has sold out five schemes in the East and West Midlands, which should double sales this year to around 500 units, with two schemes providing a total of 267 apartments in Birmingham both pre-sold.