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Walker group's £2.75m profit helped by new builds increase

The Walker housebuilding group, founded by chairman Mike Walker over 40 years ago, bounced back to a near £3 million profit last year after scraping just £24,000 in 2011.

Turnover jumped 70% to £24.2m, and a £140,000 operating loss was reversed into a £2.75m gain, according to the accounts of Walker Holdings (Scotland) for the year to September 30 just lodged at Companies House.

The turnaround saw a cash outflow of £3m turn into a £3.8m inflow and the family-owned group ended the year with a cash mountain of £20m.

The group, based in Livingston, hiked new-build sales from £9.1m to £17.3m, with units up from 43 to 66, while development and other sales added £2.1m to reach £6.9m. The operating return on turnover was a healthy 10.9% after the previous year's negative 1%.

The average price of homes sold jumped from £205,000 to £249,500, thanks to the successful development of an upmarket site at Livingston with prices of more than £500,000, though excluding that the average was £230,000.

Shareholder funds at the group crept up from £53m to £55.3m, employee numbers were up one at 44, and the highest-paid director, assumed to be Mr Walker, picked up £6000 less than 2011 at £229,000.

The directors say 2011 was affected by delays in the start-up of certain sites, but all sites are now fully operational and two new start-ups are expected by the end of March to maintain production levels.

"The group continues to offer assistance to prospective purchasers, including part exchange and shared equity packages. However given the scale of operations no decision has been taken to participate in the MI New Home indemnity backed mortgage scheme."

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