Deal to buy regional housebuilder earlier this year bears fruit


Countryside Properties, which bought Leicestershire-based housebuilder Westleigh earlier this year, completed nearly a third more homes in the three months to the end of June, the firm said today.

Countryside, which acquired Westleigh in April for £135m, said total completions between 1 April 2018 to 30 June 2018 stood at 1,060, up 27%.

The group said its partnerships division continued to grow, boosted by the Westleigh deal, with total completions up 46% to 823 homes, sales outlets increasing from 19 to 30, and a further 3,722 plots secured in the period.

Its housebuilding division put up 20 fewer homes – 237 – during the third quarter.

The group achieved a private average selling price of £376,000, down an “expected” 7%, while its underlying sales price rose 2%. Its private forward order book rose 16% to £409.0m, while net debt rose by 57% to £91.9m.

Countryside chief executive Ian Sutcliffe said the integration of Westleigh was “firmly underway” and the firm remained focused on mixed tenure sites.

Sutcliffe said the group was eyeing an operating margin in excess of 17%, a total growth target in completions across both its divisions of between 10% and 15% and a return on capital employed of more than 35% at group level.

Last year Countryside reported an annual adjusted operating margin of 16%, a 28% rise in completions and a 30.5% return on capital employed.

The group is expected to publish its full-year results for 2018 in November.