Ace Liberty & Stone sees profit fall on administrative costs over half

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(Alliance News) – Ace Liberty & Stone PLC on Friday said it will only make further acquisitions when it is “advantageous”, after rising administrative costs related to one-off staff costs and dilapidations of -property.

For the six months to October 31, the company reported pre-tax profit of GBP731,383, down 3% against GBP754,911 a year earlier. Rental income likewise fell by 6% to GBP2.7 million from GBP2.9 million in 2021.

President Tony Ghorayeb said the results showed a one-off increase in administrative costs, and he also noted the impact of dilapidation income in relation to Fawcett House, owned by Sunderland.

During the period, discussions continued with Sunderland City Council regarding the future redevelopment of Fawcett House. Ace Liberty & Stone recorded a charge of GBP184,000 for rate charges on the vacant part of the property, which contributed to the increase in administrative costs. She said that measures have been put in place to mitigate this cost for the future.

As of October 31, the company had total assets of GBP88.7 million, down from GBP90.0 million a year earlier.

The contracts were more than half exchanged for the purchase of Loders Service Station in Dorchester at a cost of GBP2.1 million. The property yields an initial rental income of GBP167,914, with substantial increases built into its unexpired fifteen year lease.

Looking ahead, Ace Liberty said that several other purchases were being considered, but acquisitions would only be made “when they are advantageous to the company in the current unresolved economic circumstances”.

During the period, administrative costs increased to GBP867,144 from GBP579,241 the previous year.

The company also continued with its program of management changes during the period. Commercial Director Mark Thomas resigned to pursue other interests and was replaced by Nick Jones.

There were also changes within the finance department staff, including a period of maternity leave. Ace said these developments led to an increase in salary costs of GBP115,000, which contributed to the increase in administrative costs.

Shares in Ace last traded at 57.5 pence on January 17 in London.

By Holly Beveridge; Alliance News Reporter

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