By Ian Fraser
Published: The Sunday Times
Date: 12 August 2007
SIR DAVID MURRAY’s Premier Property Group has shrugged off fears of a commercial property downturn with an 18 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £12.2 million in the year to January, writes Ian Fraser.
PPG, part owned by Sir Angus Grossart’s Noble Grossart Investments and Bank of Scotland subsidiary Uberior Investments, has grown net assets from £55.1 million to £61.8m. Total assets are now valued at £560m while aggregate borrowings, mainly from Murray’s preferred bank HBOS, have soared to £490m. PPG estimates the value of current development projects at £500m.
Murray, who also owns Rangers F.C., said some property companies may be vulnerable to interest rate rises. However he believes that PPG is more immune than most because its office developments — such as the one at 141 Bothwell Street in Glasgow — are already partially pre-let. Two floors of the Bothwell Street building, due for completion next year, have been let to law firm McGrigors. The annual rental will reportedly be £912,000 for 36,500 sq ft.
PPG has also recently opened an office in Manchester to add to its three in Edinburgh, Leeds and London. Other projects include the refurbishment of Princes Mall near Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, a 1.3m sq ft distribution complex on the M62 and the former Channel 4 building at 60 Charlotte Street in London.