The founder and executive chairman of Stewart Milne Group (SMG) is “optimistic” about the Aberdeen housing market’s prospects as the firm gets ready to start work on a £1billion development near the Granite City.
Stewart Milne, who set up the construction firm 40 years ago, said the first phase of the Countesswells project would get under way this month after SMG secured an £86million facility with the Treasury.
Mr Milne added the company had been working to bring the development west of Aberdeen to the market for “many years”.
The project will deliver 3,000 homes, three schools, leisure and healthcare facilities and parks over the next 15 years.
In accounts lodged with Companies House, Mr Milne said that while the north-east of Scotland had suffered at the hands of the oil and gas industry downturn, SMG was “exploring opportunities in the Aberdeen housing market”.
And he said the company was rebalancing its portfolio by developing more sites in central Scotland and north-west England.
Mr Milne added: “Following the year end, we have experienced challenging trading conditions in the north-east Scotland market as a result of the significant fall in the oil price.
“But our other markets continue to show signs of growth as the general UK economy continues to improve.
“Current year trading remains positive in central Scotland and north-west England and we remain optimistic about the Aberdeen market, despite some challenging conditions.”
SMG’s turnover for the year ended June 30, 2015, increased by 20% to £252million, bolstered by a rise in unit sales in its homes business and demand for its timber systems.
The group’s timber frames division brought in £42million during the period under review, up from £22million in 2014.
Group pre-tax profits rose to £5million, from £3million previously.
SMG employs more than 900 people in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Oxford.
The highest paid director at SMG – likely to be either Mr Milne or chief executive Glenn Allison – pocketed £1.28million in the last financial year.