Sir David Murray’s family business paid out a bumper £8 million dividend and made a £1.5m donation to a new charitable foundation last year after banking profits on a series of asset sales.
Murray Capital Group has made a number of disposals in recent years, including the sale of cabling business Brand-Rex in 2015 which led to a gain of £28m.
Managing director David Murray, Sir David’s son, said the decision to pay the “exceptional dividend” came after a year of consolidation in 2016. Alongside the dividend the company has also made a £1.5m donation to the Murray Foundation, set up earlier this year to help several good causes close to the family’s heart, including those supporting amputees and cancer charities.
Murray Capital received a “minded to” planning permission decision for 1,300 houses at its Edinburgh Garden District site in west Edinburgh in June 2016. The decision was called in by the Scottish Government with the outcome due at the start of next year.
The group is also hopeful of gaining planning consent for its 23-acre commercial site at the International Business Gateway near Edinburgh Airport. The development application comprises a 525-room hotel, 200 residential units, retail and leisure facilities and offices. Murray Metals, the group’s main trading entity, had what was described as a “good year”, delivering a profit of £1.18m, which saw an upturn in sales and margins in a more stable steel market.
Murray said the family’s business continued to take a long-term approach. “The fundamentals of the group are strong and we remain confident of making trading profits and some significant gains from our property portfolio in the coming years.”
He said 2017 trading so far had been “strong and consistent” across the portfolio and that a profitable year was expected.
Staff numbers fell to 250 from 596, reflecting the disposal of business interests.