Disposal brings restructuring of housebuilder a step close

Lloyds has agreed a deal to sell its stake in the troubled housebuilder Crest Nicholson.

The disposal brings the large-scale restructuring of the firm, which has a debt-pile of £500m, a step closer. Lloyds’ stake consists of a quarter of Crest’s debt and 30% of its equity, which would have a combined nominal value of around £150m.

This latest move follows the ditching of a plan to sell the bank-owned company to the listed bid vehicle of former Pizza Express boss Hugh Osmond after a recent dip in the housing market.

It’s reported that Lloyds’ stake is to be bought by Varde, the US investment fund.

In a statement Lloyds said it had reached an agreement in principle to sell its debt and equity stake in Crest Nicholson for a cash consideration but wouldn’t confirm the buyer. 

“We have a long term relationship with Crest Nicholson. We have provided the business with significant financing and facilitated a debt for equity swap.  Lloyds Banking Group hopes to continue to support Crest Nicholson by providing its day-to-day banking services”.