THE chief executive of the Borders’ largest private landowner has described the organisation’s return to profit as a significant step in the right direction, writes Kenny Paterson.
The Buccleuch Group’s annual company results show £700,000 was made in 2011 after recording big losses of £5.6million in 2010.
The property and agriculture enterprise says its losses have now declined from almost £18million in 2008. Debt was reduced by £4million, despite the group suffering property impairment charges of £4.7million, up from £2.8million in 2010.
Chief executive John Glen, pictured, whose organisation oversees the Bowhill and Langholm estates which cover large areas of the Borders, said: “Today’s encouraging results are a significant step in the right direction for the group; our strategy has resulted in substantial debt reduction and a return to profit after three very challenging years. 2011 was the second year in which we refocused on our core activities while developing our competencies and capabilities in growth markets and we will continue on this path.
“In terms of commercial property, the market remained largely moribund.
“However, there was buoyancy in the central London prime residential market and also Aberdeen, and the Buccleuch Property Investment portfolio held up well.”
Mr Glen said investment would be made in Buccleuch’s hospitality and tourism sector, attempting to utilise its natural and heritage assets.
He added: “Looking forward to 2012, we consolidated the investment assets of the Buccleuch Property Fund into our investment property portfolio to create a single investment property platform.
“We have added key resources into our hospitality and biomass businesses, where we hope to generate significant new activity, while continuing to develop our business in both the commercial property and energy sectors.”