Keith Miller, chief executive of Miller Group, was in a bullish mood this week after the firm reported a rise in pre-tax profit for 2005 of 40%, taking it to £76m.
Operating margins in the housing business, the biggest part of the group, increased from 15% to 16% and turnover rose 19%. Housing contributed £490m to the total of £893m. "We powered ahead in what was a tough marketplace," said Miller.
Fairclough, which Miller bought in September, contributed 402 of the 2801 completions in the year to 31 September, 100 down overall on last year, though average prices rose 6% to £185,000. Miller said that the business was now the eighth biggest UK housebuilder by volume, and seventh in terms of margins.
He added that it had been able to succeed at a time when other housebuilders had reported a fall in profit because of a good spread of land in the Midlands, north of England and Scotland, with not too much in the South. He also praised the team at the Miller Group.
He noted that the construction business, with a £254m turnover, had performed well with a 2.5% margin.
The property business also performed well as it pushed increasingly into Europe. This week it received a resolution to grant planning permission for a mixed-use regeneration scheme at 259 City Road, north London.
The development is a 50/50 joint venture between City Road Basin (Miller Developments and British Waterways) and Groveworld.