Offsite construction specialist Britspace is up for sale for an estimated £12m, according to industry sources

The £24m turnover group is owned by private equity group NVM, which is understood to be seeking a sale to another private equity backer.

The company was bought from the Horncastle family as part of an NVM-backed management buyout in September 2002.

Britspace was one of three companies sold in the £12m deal. Together with Gateway, a bathroom pod maker, and secure accommodation specialist Ultra Secure, it forms part of GB Industries.

One private equity source said: “Five years is the usual type of turnaround for a private equity backer. Britspace is in a good sector and doesn’t have many competitors. You could argue that it is an attractive proposition.”

Britspace dismissed the sale speculation as “completely untrue”. Dave Horrocks, the finance director, said: “We finished our financial year at the end of March with a record set of results and our shareholders are happy with our performance. We are enjoying strong growth in a market that is recognising the advantages of offsite construction.”

Some suggest selling may be a problem given the downturn. One source said: “They’ve had a few private equity companies running the rule over them. The big problem in the current market is finding a buyer.”

They added: “Modular construction is an interesting part of the market. It came about after the Egan Report in 1999, but nobody is really sure where it is going. While it has had some success in the Ministry of Defence and prisons markets it hasn’t really cracked the residential market.”

Turnover at Britspace in the year to 31 March 2008 is estimated to be in the region of £24m with a pre-tax profit of £2.5m. The figures are a 25% increase on the previous year, when the company turned over more than £18.9m and made a pre-tax profit of £2.1m.

Britspace’s modular projects

Bury College: 1500m2, 16 weeks
Kirklevington Prison: 1,000m2, 15 weeks
Days Inn hotel, Wakefield: 2,570m2, 23 weeks
Valet car park, Gatwick: 476m2, 9 weeks
Colchester Garrison: 35,000m2, 1,500 rooms at 10 rooms/day on site