A HOUSEBUILDER has said it is unclear when work will begin again on its sites in Scotland despite moves back to construction in England.

Elgin-based Springfield Properties has told the City it is “not possible” to know when its operations will resume, as fellow housebuilders prepare to go back on site south of the Border from this week.

It has agreed bank provision that would allow it to stay locked down for a year if needed.

The company also said executive and non-executive directors have agreed to a pay cut, with a “voluntary 50 per cent reduction in base salary until further notice, and at least until sales recommence, with 30% deferred and 20% forgone”.

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All senior managers still working have agreed to a 20% voluntary reduction in base salary.

The company, which offers private and affordable housing, said that “in accordance with Scottish Government guidance on March 24 Springfield temporarily closed down all of its sites under construction and its kit factory”, as well as closing its sales and administrative offices to the public with employees working from home where possible.

In an update to the London Stock Exchange it said the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve and “until there is clarity on the duration and severity of these events, it is not possible to know when operations will recommence”.

The company said it has agreed an additional £18 million, 12-month, term loan facility with Bank of Scotland, increasing the total credit facility to £85m, which has been agreed on similar terms to its existing credit facility.

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Springfield said that this additional support gives the company sufficient headroom “should it be necessary, to withstand even the most unlikely event of a 12-month shutdown”.

It said: “The board is satisfied that the group is in a strong financial position and able to operate within its new facilities even under the most extreme of these highly stressed scenarios: a full year shutdown.”

The company earlier cancelled the interim dividend and furloughed more than 90% of its staff under the job retention scheme.

Springfield said: “Additional measures that significantly reduce the group’s monthly running costs include the delay or cancellation of future land purchases, postponement of office rental and financial lease payments, and curtailment of all non-essential spend.

“It is too early to estimate with accuracy the potential impact on the group’s financial results. However, the board believes the group is in a strong position to withstand the impact of Covid-19 work is permitted and once a return to, Springfield will continue to deliver against its strong order book.”

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Contracted revenues from private and affordable housing currently stand at over £110m. This includes £44m of largely constructed private housing, much of which would have handed over to clients this months and next.

The homes are contracted under the Scottish missive system and are underpinned by the banks’ three-month extension to mortgage offers. The affordable housing element consists of £66m of affordable housing revenue from construction contracts already under way.

Springfield said it is in possession of what the directors believe to be the largest land bank in Scotland.

Innes Smith, Springfield chief executive, said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic our first priority has always been the health and safety of our workforce and the wider community and I am proud of the response of our employees to the crisis.

“While the impact of the disruption is still unknown, Scotland will continue to need more good quality housing to address its housing shortage and I believe that Springfield is in a very strong position to meet this demand once our business can restart.”

Springfield shares closed 8.6% up at 107p.