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13 May 2022 | 16:01

Great Places full-year surplus 'almost exactly' in line with budget

(Sharecast News) - Great Places Housing Group reported a full-year surplus of £19.9m in its fourth quarter update on Friday, up from £14.8m year-on-year and "almost exactly" in line with budget. The North West England-focussed housing association, traded on London's Professional Securities Market (PSM), said total turnover for the 12 months ended 31 March was £159.7m, up from £137.7m.

Its operating surplus, meanwhile, grew to £45.7m from £40.2m.

"Rental income was slightly below budget due to delayed handovers of new developments and operating costs were slightly higher than budget due to increased investment in our homes," Great Places said in its statement.

"Covid continued to be an adverse factor for much of the year, contributing to development delays and also leading to higher-than-planned absence which led to additional subcontractor costs to maintain repairs service delivery.

"We saw higher than planned volumes of shared ownership staircasing and right-to-acquire sales, whilst our open market and first tranche sales targets were both exceeded."

Drawn debt, excluding bond premium, fair value adjustments and loan fees and including finance leases, totalled £652.2m at year-end, up from £661.1m a year earlier, with the movement due to scheduled loan repayments.

A new £100m revolving credit facility with NatWest was completed in March, renegotiating and restructuring the association's maturing £85m existing facility, adding £15m of new money and extending the maturity of the new facility to 2027.

The group said its mark-to-market exposure was £28.1m, down from £41.9m year-on-year, with £8.0m of cash collateral posted to meet counterparties' security requirements, compared to £21.1m in the 2021 financial year.

Cash balances, excluding cash held on behalf of leaseholders, was £119.5m, down from £135.4m, with undrawn bank facilities immediately available of £143.8m, of which £73.8m was fully secured, and the remaining £70m subject to a release-and-recharge exercise following the NatWest loan amendment, which would complete shortly.

"Our internal financial 'golden rules' around interest cover, gearing and operating margin were all met at the end of the period," the board added.

Reporting by Josh White at Sharecast.com.
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