Housebuilder plans to double production to 1750 units a year after management buyout last November.
Housebuilder Linden, which went private in a buyout last year, aims to double production to 1750 houses a year in the next three years.

Chief executive Philip Davies set the target in Linden's annual report for 2000. Davies, backed by the Bank of Scotland, led the £73m buyout of the Surrey-based firm in November.

He said: "We have a clear vision of growing all five regions to give us the capability of 1500-1750 units a year in three years' time."

Linden's goal mirrors that of fellow housebuilder Fairview, which went private earlier this year. It is understood that Fairview intends to double production to 3000 homes a year to repay the £300m it borrowed for the buyout.

Fairview, which aims to clear the debt in five years, also plans to raise prices and place less emphasis on increasing its landbank.

Davies said Linden's production drive was not to repay debt but to expand the business. He said: "It's really to create a bigger company. Fairview is a different story." He wants each division to sell at least 300 homes a year within the three year period.

We will grow not only in turnover but margins, too

Philip Davies, Linden Homes

To fulfil their ambitious plans both companies must buck a trend for housebuilders to report lower house sales but improved average selling price.

Linden's pre-tax profit for the year to 31 December 2000 rose 43%, from £10.8m to 15.4m, on turnover up £32.7m to £143.4m.

Unit sales increased 8% to 764, and the average selling price rose from £156,000 in 1999 to £179,000 last year. Davies said group strategy was to buy two or three large sites in each of Linden's five regional businesses, which could be developed within two years.

He said: "These will underpin growth, not only in turnover but in margins too, over the next few years."

Davies said that sales this year were about 20% ahead of the same time last year. He said: "It is a very steady market and we are having a very good year."

Linden is also investing in an IT system to create a modular regional database system. This will bring the best practices under one system.