Bruntwood SciTech – a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General – has reported a significant growth in pre-tax profit in its latest financial year.
After suffering a £7.6m pandemic-induced loss in 2020, the property platform dedicated to the growth of the UK’s science and tech sector saw pre-tax profits return this year (£17.1m).
Turnover at Bruntwood SciTech grew substantially to £51.8m, a near 30% uplift on its 2020 figure (£40.1m) as its network continued to expand with growth at both its existing innovation districts and the addition of new locations, combined with a number of significant leasing transactions.
Its portfolio grew in value to £669.5m (2020: £545.7m), this reflected a major strategic acquisition and the success of its on-going development programme, which committed £80.8m to new schemes. Total net asset value grew to £235.3m (2020: £231m).
The joint venture’s growth ambitions received a boost from its shareholders after each invested an additional £27.8m in new equity. A new £95.1m sustainability-linked funding deal was secured from its existing banking partners, along with a new £44m development facility from OakNorth Bank.
Commenting on the figures, Kate Lawlor, CEO of Bruntwood SciTech, said: “Unlocking the power of the science and technology industries of our cities is a key pillar of the UK’s economic strategy, and this focus is driving our growth and our ambitious plans for the future.
“This year was a tipping point for the business in many ways. The momentum behind our expansion saw us take Bruntwood SciTech into new strategic locations, secure our largest ever development opportunity and saw several new transformational projects take some big steps forward.”
Among the highlights from last year was its acquisition of Melbourn Science Park in Cambridge, seeing it establish a foothold in the ‘Golden Triangle’ for the first time, before also being named as development partner for Begbroke Science Park in Oxford, as part of Legal & General’s £4bn joint venture with the University of Oxford.
The University of Manchester also selected Bruntwood SciTech as their joint venture partner for the development of ID Manchester in a bid to build a new £1.5bn innovation district in the city, creating over 10,000 new jobs and providing 2.6m sq ft of commercial space over the next 10-15 years.
Construction continued at pace. In Birmingham, ground was broken at the £210m Birmingham Health Innovation Campus, which will support 10,000 new jobs and provide a £400m boost to the West Midlands’ economy over the next 10 years. Enterprise Wharf the city’s first ‘smart-enabled’ building is on track to PC in late 2022, doubling the size of the existing Innovation Birmingham Campus; while in Manchester the £21m re-development of Base designed for companies working in the frontier sectors of Industry 4.0, leapt forward and is due to PC in spring.
Bruntwood SciTech also strengthened its senior team including Dr Kath Mackay taking up a new national role of director for life sciences, Jamie Clyde’s appointment as innovation services director and Dr Steve Franklin – founder and former CEO of Evgen Pharma – joining as head of innovation for life sciences further bolstering the company’s expertise in the sector.
The first quarter of the current financial year has marked a major milestone transaction at Circle Square following the biggest ever inward investment deal in Manchester, after global streaming giant Roku agreed a 120,000 sq ft move to No.1.
Looking ahead, Bruntwood SciTech says 2022 will be another busy year of growth as it commences work on ID Manchester and continues to explore a number of acquisition and partnership opportunities in new UK regions.
Kate Lawlor, added: “We enter 2022 excited about the future. Our goal of being the UK’s leading network of innovation districts will see us expand into more new locations, supporting cities, businesses, universities, and clinical and research bodies through our unique partnership-led approach.
“There is significant institutional investor interest in the specialist science and technology property markets in the UK right now. But we’ve got a strong track record in the sector and we’re confident that our experience, expertise and connections will continue to accelerate our growth.”
Sir Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General, said: “Bruntwood Scitech is a terrific example of how science and technology is revitalising the economy since the pandemic, driving job creation whilst supporting the levelling up agenda. Its expansion in 2021 across a number of sites in cities outside London, and its partnerships with major universities, are helping to incubate talent and grow the spin-out companies which the UK needs to become a modern economy. L&G has invested around £30bn in the development of our UK regional cities, and we are excited to continue to back businesses like Bruntwood SciTech which are helping to transform the cities of the North and Midlands. like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham whilst creating a more inclusive post-pandemic society.”
Chris Oglesby, Executive Chair of Bruntwood SciTech, added: “Bruntwood’s purpose is to create thriving cities. This means supporting successful places where businesses want to start up, grow and move to – and where people want to live. By focussing on the creation of a network of thriving innovation districts, Bruntwood SciTech is truly bringing this purpose to life across the whole of the UK.
“We have a very different proposition to other businesses operating in either life sciences or tech, because our business is rooted in place and creating deep ecosystems. We aim to help cities to develop their strategies and align our own behind them, looking at the areas of growth in the economy and investing in the infrastructures required for delivery.”