Third generation of family-run housebuilder not interested in taking on the business

Surrey housebuilder Croudace Homes may sell up after it emerged that the third generation of the family-run firm doesn’t want to take it on.

Shareholders in the company, which has been controlled by the Brotherton-Ratcliffe family since it was founded in 1946, ordered a wholesale review last summer and a decision is expected next month.

The three shareholders, AB Ratcliffe, DCB Ratcliffe and JM Brotherton, have been repaid £15.1m of loans made to the company and it has been forced to seek a bank loan of £8.5m for the first time in its history.

Croudace denied the move has been prompted by the current credit squeeze.

It is understood that the review may not lead to a sale.

One analyst said the current downturn meant times were tough for small and medium sized housebuilders but said Croudace was not in financial difficulties. “The balance sheet is healthy and the fact it is building houses in the south-east also counts in its favour.”

Year to 31 December 2007

Pre-tax profit - £32.6m (2006: £9m)

Turnover - £98m (£94m)

Completions - 318 (328) private sales at an average price of £280,000 (£270,000) and 76 (57) dwellings for housing associations at an average price of £115,000 (£97,120)