Crest Nicholson to return to stock market

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
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House builder Crest Nicholson said today it would return to the stock market with an initial public offering in February.

The southern house builder said the offer, expected to be worth £200m, would comprise new and existing shares and release£50m to pay outstanding borrowings.

Stephen Stone, chief executive, said: “Crest Nicholson has a long and successful history as a public company and today we have announced our intention to return to the stock market.

“We have a robust balance sheet, a valuable land bank, and a management team that has experienced the best and worst of the housebuilding cycle.

He added: “The housing market is entering a period of gradual recovery and with our emphasis on the South of England, including London, and the continued support for the new homes market from Government, we are well positioned to generate value for shareholders.”

Scottish entrepreneur Tom Hunter and mortgage lender HBOS took the firm private 2007.

But the house builder was hit hard by the slump in the UK housing market after the credit crunch.

After a series of deals last year, US investment fund Varde Partners bought the business as a majority shareholder.

Crest hopes to be eligible for inclusion in the FTSE UK from March or June.

The house builder is one of the few majors to deliver a big rise in completions, up 24% in 2012 to 1,882 new homes. Average selling prices were up 2.7% to £230,000 per home.

Crest also boasts the industry’s highest operating margin from a volume player at 18%.

The house builder said it aimed to return to selling 2,500 units annually within three to four years.

It holds a short term land bank of nine years supply at present building rates of 16,959 plots on 72 sites.

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