The development partner for the new Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC) yesterday posted a second “short but impressive” trading update, with its full-year profits expected to be “comfortably” ahead of City forecasts.
Henry Boot – the Sheffield-based land developer that was appointed in November 2013 as Aberdeen City Council’s preferred partner for the £185million replacement AECC at Bucksburn – said that trading had continued to be “healthy”, especially in its construction and house building divisions.
Alison Watson, an analyst at house broker Investec, had already increased her pre-tax profit forecast for March’s full-year results by 17% to £23.9million following an up-beat trading update last month.
Nick Spoliar, an analyst at WH Ireland, added: “The update is short but impressive.
“Clearly Boot’s markets remain on a very good footing and, while the uncertainties of election year are a given, we believe the fundamentals for the land business remain very strong, sustaining significant embedded value, while Boot’s commercial property business is also likely to continue to strengthen.”
A spokeswoman for Henry Boot said that plans for the new AECC were still at a very early stage, with the company working with the council on the design briefs for the project.
She added that the company did not expect the project to shift into its pipeline until 2017-18.
The council wants to build an arena for 15,000 standing delegates on the 130-acre site, along with a 200-bed four-star hotel and ample parking spaces.
The current AECC at Bridge of Don was built in 1985 to host the Offshore Europe conference.
A political row has intensified in recent weeks over concerns that the public purse will be left to foot the bill for the replacement venue.
A business case for the AECC is due to go before councillors in March following a “due diligence” assessment.