Surrey housebuilder prepares ground for public flotation as its posts a profit of £62m

Pre-tax profit at Gladedale, the private housebuilder, rose 48% to £61.7m in 2005, boosted by growing demand across the UK and the first contribution from Country & Metropolitan, which it bought in April last year.

Completions increased 50% to 2801 to the year ending December 2005.

Gladedale, which has its headquarters in Epsom, Surrey, announced that David Gaffney, the group’s managing director, had been appointed chief executive. The move was intended to align the company’s structure with that of publicly quoted housebuilders.

Remo Dipre, who came in at 192nd in The Sunday Times Rich List with a £300m fortune, will continue in the role of executive chairman. Colin Ingram, finance director at Manner Kingdom, Gladedale’s sister company, leaves the board.

Ingram has been replaced by Philip Curwen, who joined from Berkeley Homes where he was a regional director. Dipre’s son John has joined the board as group development director.

Remo Dipre said that although Gladedale was modelling itself on a quoted company, there were no immediate plans to float on the stock market although he added: “Never say never.”

Gaffney said that each region of the company had performed well, although the Scottish division had contributed most to profit. Turnover last year rose 39% to £483m.

Gladedale increased its landbank by almost 35%, from 26,000 to 35,000 plots.

Dipre said Gladedale was interested in more acquisitions, “depending on the market and opportunities”.

However, he indicated that a purchase would not be imminent: “The market has picked up a lot and therefore companies are a bit expensive,” he said.

Looking forward Dipre and Gaffney said the same level of growth at the company was sustainable this year, despite a “robust but challenging” market at a regional and national level.

Dipre said Gladedale had started 2006 with its strongest ever order book and the highest number of selling outlets in the group’s history, 25% more than at the same time last year.