Housebuilder confirms it is in “early stage” talks with new “financial partners”

Keepmoat delivered 146 homes in Kingswood Corby

A range of private equity firms are bidding to buy housebuilder Keepmoat.

In a statement the firm said social housing contractor and developer Keepmoat could “confirm that it is at the early stages of assessing possible financial partners” which it said would fund “the next stage of the development of the group.”

The confirmation follows a report by Sky News that private equity firms Apollo Management and Onex are among bidders that have put offers in for the Doncaster-based housebuilder.

It reports that Lloyd’s Bank is set to sell the controlling stake it took in October 2012 in a debt-for-equity swap, which followed Keepmoat’s 2011 merger with south England rival Apollo.

The group is on course to post revenue of £925m for the year to March 2014, an increase of just under £40m on the previous year, driven by a strong performance in its private housing business. Keepmoat’s sale is thought likely to fetch around £500m and is being overseen by investment bankers JP Morgan.

The news comes amid speculation that Chancellor George Osborne is set to introduce incentives for brownfield development in order to encourage an increase in housebuilding.

Osborne will announce the plans in his annual Mansion House speech this Thursday.

Meanwhile, Keepmoat has agreed a contract with social landlord Walsall Housing Group (WHG) to deliver 412 new homes as part of a £50m neighbourhood regeneration scheme.

The proposals will see 177 affordable-rent properties and 235 private-sale homes built in the Goscote area of Blakenall, subject to planning permission from Walsall Council and funding approval from the Homes and Communities Agency.

WHG said the Goscote project was the largest single regeneration scheme it had undertaken since its launch in 2003.

Martyn Johnson, Keepmoat’s partnerships manager for the Midlands, said the regeneration work would create an “exciting” mixed-tenure community that included both “highly aspirational and affordable homes”.

“We are pleased to be partnering with WHG on such a major project and it is testament to the great work we have been doing building more than 1,000 high-quality new homes in the Midlands over the past three years,” he said.

WHG said pending funding and planning permission it expected work to start on site in October this year for completion in 2018.

Last year WHG agreed a £42m deal with Kier to provide 340 new homes elsewhere in Walsall.