Fife-based Muir Group to create hundreds of new homes across Scottish sites as turnover grows

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Muir Group, the Fife-based housebuilder, property developer and contractor, said it was working on plans to create “several hundred” new homes as it reported an annual loss amid squeezed margins.

Despite the full-year deficit, chairman John Muir pointed to an increase in turnover, healthy cash balances and property and land assets, saying the group was “in a good place to compete and contribute positively to Scotland’s economic recovery”.

The firm, which is due to celebrate 50 years in business next year, reported a hike in turnover on the previous financial year of nearly £22 million to just under £85m.

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As a result of “challenges facing the whole sector”, including margins being squeezed and “chronic” skills and labour shortages, the group reported a pre-tax loss of £4.3m as it also restructured the revenue profile at Muir Homes. That compares with a pre-tax profit of about £1m the year before.

Muir Group chairman John Muir.Muir Group chairman John Muir.
Muir Group chairman John Muir.

Muir Construction turnover increased by £7m on the previous year. The positive result was due to the completion of business facilities in Glasgow and the Central Belt, “on time and ahead of schedule”. Bosses said the division’s order book looked healthy for the coming year.

The group’s timber systems business had a busy year, with turnover increasing by £3m, reflecting a return to normal production following the removal of restrictions post-pandemic and an increase in external sales.

Muir Homes increased its turnover by £12m, despite results being “significantly impacted” by the pandemic. However, issues identified in assessment of expected margins on current sales and a “more challenging” property market in the north east of Scotland contributed to a loss for the financial year.

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The group is now focused on a “more diversified and balanced” portfolio of housing developments throughout Scotland. Muir Homes is currently active on seven sites across the country with the aim of creating several hundred homes, assisted by new sites opening in the coming year.

Overall, the group retains “healthy” cash balances of £16.8m and has net assets of £86.7m.

Muir said: “We have a dedicated team working hard in very difficult and challenging times. The pandemic is over, but its legacy continues with price increases in raw materials, delays in the supply chain and a significant lack of skilled labour to support the construction sector.

“Despite all these challenges, and more likely in the coming years, Muir Group is well positioned for the future. We have made difficult decisions, particularly in rebuilding our revenue profile within Muir Homes and positive it will show healthy profit for future years.

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“Looking ahead, to our 50th year in business next year, we see opportunities for the group with construction, homes and property development working on major new projects alongside our Amazon business park continuing to provide revenues.”

He added: “The construction industry in Scotland is flat out trying to regain lost ground and we are having to overcome these difficult conditions. Our increase in turnover, healthy cash balances, property and land assets put us in a good place to compete and contribute positively to Scotland’s economic recovery.”

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