Regeneration group posts £20m pre-tax loss for first half of year

Regeneration specialist St Modwen plunged into the red during the first half of this year and announced it is halting attempts to sell residential land until the market has "stabilised".

Shares in the group were down more than 2% in midday trading as it announced a £20m pre-tax loss in the first half of the year against a £65.1m pre-tax profit during the same period last year.

The group revealed more than £37m of write-downs of residential sites and £16.9m from its commercial property sites.

St Modwen's net asset value fell by almost £20m to £448.2m in the first half.

Bill Oliver

St Modwen chief executive Bill Oliver said: "The speed of the downturn in residential land caught everyone by surprise. It has been a collapse.''

The company said it expects things to get worse with both the residential and commercial market deteriorating further.

Oliver added: "Prices are still falling and people haven't called the bottom there yet.''

Shares were trading at 321.5 at just before noon, above last month's year low of 267, but well off last July's 12-month high of 660.