Lioncourt launches five-year programme to become one of UK’s largest private housebuilders
A fledgling housebuilder set up by former managers of Westbury has launched a rapid expansion drive with the aim of becoming one of the UK’s largest private housebuilders in the next five years.
Lioncourt Homes was set up last year by Colin Cole, who was a main board director and deputy managing director at Westbury before it was sold to Persimmon for £950m in 2005. Neil Chandler, formerly Westbury’s company secretary, is finance director at Lioncourt. All the staff at the company are former Westbury employees.
Backed by Dublin investor Lioncourt Capital, HSBC, and the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lioncourt Homes has set up a £100m land investment programme to secure future sites. It expects to build a minimum of 500 homes a year within the next three to four years, with this figure rising to 1,000 a year in the next five years. This would make it the UK’s 19th largest housebuilder by today’s figures and the 10th largest private firm.
Cole, chief executive, said: “We are used to developing large sites and our business plan is based on large company principles. It’s the only way we know how to operate.”
Lioncourt’s houses sell at £180,000 on average. The company is focused on new build, including affordable housing.
Based in Droitwich, Worcestershire, it will initially focus on the West Midlands and central England. It then plans to expand into the east Midlands and further south.
Cole said the company was involved in joint ventures with “two of the top quoted housebuilders”, although he declined to name them. It is understood that Lioncourt will seek further joint venture opportunities.
He said: “It was a sad day when Westbury was sold to Persimmon but it was inevitable, given the climate of consolidation. There will be further consolidation and it is likely that there will be only three or four major quoted housebuilders, which leaves room for our business to grow and prosper.”
Chief executive: Colin Cole
Employees: about 20, all ex-Westbury
Secured development areas: Newcastle under Lyme, Stoke on Trent, Telford, Gloucestershire
For more on housebuilders go to www.building.co.uk/housing