Integration of two groups will turn Miller into a top ten housebuilder.

The UK’s largest privately-owned housebuilder, the Miller Group, has swooped for fellow housebuilder Fairclough Homes in a deal worth £264m.

The deal, with the New York Stock Exchange-listed Centex Corporation, sees Miller pick up a business which produced 1,563 completions in the year to 31 March 2005, generating turnover of £270 million.

Miller Homes produced 2,505 completions in the year to 31 December 2004 generating turnover of £394m.

Both businesses have expansion plans for the forthcoming year. Miller will have a greater presence in its three existing areas and a new presence in Northern Home Counties, which will become its ninth operating region.

The integration of the two businesses will move Miller’s housebuilding operations into the UK’s top ten largest housebuilders with expected annual housing completions of over 4,000 units and will raise Housing and Group turnover to around £0.7 bn and £1.1 bn respectively.

The acquisition increases Miller’s landbank by 6,493 plots and provides a combined landbank of 16,943 plots which equates to four years supply at current consumption levels.

Tim Hough, Chief Executive of Miller Homes, said that the acquisition had significant strategic benefits for Miller

He said: “In one step, it creates a sustainable UK housing business able to complete in excess of 4,000 units per annum. It gives Miller critical mass in four key operating regions in England, outside of its well-established operations in Scotland – in the North West, Yorkshire, West Midlands and the South.”

“And it provides a platform for the creation of Miller’s ninth housing operation in St Albans, covering the Northern Home Counties, which Miller had not expected to achieve before next year.”

Miller’s Group Chief Executive Keith Miller said the firm had monitored Fairclough Homes for some time and were delighted to have acquired the business.

He said: “It is a good strategic and geographic fit with our existing businesses, and has a strong management team and an excellent landbank.

“There is a very positive macro economic outlook for UK housebuilding with growing household formation, high home ownership aspirations, a high level of employment, and low interest rates. Going forward, we expect the industry to experience further consolidation and we will continue to play a leading part in this process.”