MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: Developer has a mine of prime sites


MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: Developer Harworth, a property business with a difference, has a mine of prime sites

Mining heritage: Lynda Shillaw builds houses on UK Coal’s old sites

Lynda Shillaw’s father was a miner, as was her grandfather and great-grandfather before that. So, when Shillaw was asked to lead Rotherham-based Harworth, the role had a particular resonance.

Harworth is a property business with a difference. Spun out of UK Coal, it specialises in the regeneration of former mining and industrial sites in the North of England and the Midlands.

The group owns and manages 13,000 acres of land, including Orgreave, once the site of violent clashes between miners and police when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

Today, this former battleground has been renamed Waverley, a peaceful development with almost 3,000 homes as well as acres of space for business and research.

Rolls Royce and McLaren have set up shop in Waverley, alongside Sheffield University and the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which aims to make Britain a leading force in nuclear energy.

Waverley is Harworth’s largest development, but the firm owns about 100 sites, at various stages of renewal and reconstruction. Some are already being turned into places where people can live and work, others are at the planning stage, and some are still undergoing remediation so that dirty, polluted land can be put to productive use.

Ultimately, about 30,000 homes will be built on Harworth land, as well as offices, warehouses, parks and all the amenities associated with everyday life.

Shillaw joined Harworth in 2020, when the firm’s assets were valued at £500 million. She intends to double that figure by 2027 and confirmed at an annual meeting last week that she is well on the way.

The group has a huge land bank and it is involved in several areas of the property sector – from affordable homes to advanced manufacturing to Amazon-style depots. These have all proved resilient to date and Shillaw is taking active steps to drive the business forward, expanding into different pockets of the residential market and developing sites rather than selling them on as soon as planning permission is granted.

Harworth also plays into the Government’s levelling-up agenda, providing homes and employment for thousands of people in neglected parts of the country.

Midas verdict: Midas recommended Harworth in January 2020 just before Shillaw joined, when the shares were £1.54. Today the stock is £1.20, even though Harworth’s assets are valued at more than £1.90 a share. 

This discrepancy reflects concern about the wider property market, but it should reverse as Shillaw continues to deliver her strategy. Many employees come from mining backgrounds too, so they are deeply committed to the business. 

Existing shareholders should stick with it. New investors could grab a bargain at current levels.

Traded on: Main market Ticker: HWG Contact: harworthgroup.com or 0114 349 3131

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