Crest Nicholson Banks On Listing
One of the most prominent housebuilders to fail during the credit crisis four years ago has hired bankers to prepare a flotation that will underline returning confidence in the sector.
The owner of Crest Nicholson, which was controlled by HBOS, the stricken mortgage lender rescued by Lloyds TSB in the autumn of 2008, has appointed Barclays and HSBC to arrange a stock market listing.
The flotation - plans for which were revealed by Sky News last month - is expected to take place in the first half of next year, and will value Crest at around £500m.
Crest is owned by Varde Partners, a distressed investment fund which injected capital into the business as part of a wider financial restructuring about a year ago.
The prospects for housebuilders have improved because of various Government efforts to stimulate the sector and activity in the housing market.
Companies including Barratt, Berkeley and Redrow have announced sharp increases in profits in recent months despite the subdued UK economy, and share prices are up across the sector.
Crest Nicholson builds houses mainly in the south of England and sold more than 3,000 homes a year at the peak of the market. Its chief executive, Stephen Stone, is widely regarded as the architect of the company's turnaround, and is likely to land a substantial windfall from a flotation.
A spokeswoman for Crest declined to comment.