Construction group will buy back its stock if price falls, but denies plans to go private.
Construction and housebuilding group Henry Boot said it would continue to buy back its shares if their stock exchange value fell to “unacceptable levels” as it announced its results on Monday .

The group posted pre-tax profit of £11.2m for the year ending 31 December 1999, a rise of 5.7% on the £10.6m it made in the previous year.

The improved profit came on the back of an increased turnover of £204.8m, up 19% on the £172.1m of business the group did in the same period in 1998. Operating profit rose 14.5% to £11.5m.

The company has already bought back 1.5 million shares since November 1998, but Jamie Boot, group managing director, insisted that the buying back of shares did not mean that the group was seeking to leave the stock market and become a private company.

He said: “It’s not something we are looking at. The reason for buying back shares is because the shares are undervalued. We can improve our dividend and increase share value by buying in shares and cancelling them.”

If our price drops down to a low level, below 200, we’ll buy them in

Jamie Boot, Group MD

He added: “If our price drops down to a low level, below 200, we’ll buy them in. At the moment, we are watching the market.” On Tuesday of this week, Henry Boot’s shares were valued at 215p.

Commenting on the group’s results, Boot said: “It’s still a very competitive market at the moment, but we keep battling away. There is work around, but it all goes for very competitive prices.

“The biggest problem is obtaining land at the right price, but despite that our housing division is doing well.”