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11 September, 2006 - 16:47 By Staff Reporter

Artisan issues upbeat trading statement

Huntingdon based property developer Artisan (UK) plc has issued an upbeat trading statement at its AGM.Chairman Michael Stevens told shareholders that since the year end in March, each of the group’s businesses had made progress.

“Our commercial developments company, Artisan (UK) Developments, is enjoying a good level of interest in its developments, though this interest still takes time to convert into a contracted sale.

“Rippon Homes, the groups East Midlands based house building company, is finding that each sale must be hard won. However, apart from a hiatus experienced during the football world cup, reservations are at reasonable levels, although these reservations can prove fragile where the vendor has a property to sell.

“Rippon Homes’ careful use of sales assistance and part exchange schemes helps to mitigate this issue. Whilst we expect trading to be weighted towards the latter part of the current period, your board is confident of making good progress for the year as a whole.”

Stevens said that investment in further sites remained key to the group’s growth and much effort was directed towards this by both divisions.

“We have continued to purchase land successfully and we are tendering for more land. The purchase process remains difficult and whilst we are very competitive in our bidding, there remain competitors willing to spend aggressively to secure a site, especially in the commercial development sector.

“Finalising planning issues also builds delay into the development process: The Government’s attempt to speed matters has not always resulted in an improvement in gaining a planning permission.

“On the sales side, we are encouraged by customer interest at two of our new sites, in particular the residential site near Lincoln and our new business park site in Peterborough.”

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