Crest Nicholson chief executive John Callcutt has said the highly tipped takeover target has had no approaches from interested parties and is not planning to make any acquisitions itself.

Callcutt said: “I think Crest continues to deliver shareholder returns and it is difficult to believe shareholder value would be increased if we were part of a bigger outfit.” The housebuilder’s interim pre-tax profit leaped 68% to £20.1m for the six months to 30 April 1999 on turnover up 20% to £240.6m. A record 1119 houses were sold in the first half of the year, up from 935 in the first six months of 1998. An increase in social housing work brought average selling price down £2300 to £113 7000.

A Crest Nicholson statement said consumer confidence and overall housing affordability had been improved by timely interest rate cuts and that prospects for the housing market looked “encouraging”.