August 4, 2017 / 7:41 AM / 4 months ago

UK Property group Assura names new finance head

(Reuters) - Assura Plc (AGRP.L), an investor and developer of primary care properties, named Jayne Cottam as chief financial officer, filling a position that fell vacant earlier this year after then finance chief Jonathan Murphy became CEO.

Cottam currently heads the operational finance team at one of the UK’s largest private national housing developers and would join before October-end, the group, which develops and manages primary care medical centres across the UK, said.

“Cottam’s appointment relieves some of the added responsibility which Jonathan Murphy has borne over the past six months and her background provides some complementary expertise to Assura’s business,” Liberum analyst Kieran Lee said.

Murphy has juggled responsibility for a while, having been interim CEO since last October. He was permanently given the top role in February, at which point Assura said it had begun searching for a new finance head.

Cottam was also previously director of finance for the continental division of scrap metal company European Metal Recycling Ltd.

“(Cottam‘s) financial expertise will prove extremely valuable as we continue to deliver shareholder value and pursue our strategy of investing to support the UK’s primary healthcare infrastructure,” Murphy said in a statement.

Property investors have grown more interested in buying care properties since Britain voted to leave the EU, favouring their long leases and steady tenants over retail and offices which have been hit by uncertainty.

Assura, which reported a rise in profit in the last financial year, raised 164 million pounds via a placing in June to help fund acquisition and development pipeline.

Assura shares, up about 8 percent in the year to Thursday’s close, was up 0.3 percent at 63.8 pence at 1040 GMT.

Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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