Countryside aims for piece of affordable homes action

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Housebuilder Countryside has high hopes of gaining a slice of the £3.1 billion earmarked by the Chancellor for affordable homes in London, boss Ian Sutcliffe said on Tuesday.

Last week’s Autumn Statement unveiled plans to tackle the capital’s housing crisis with 90,000 more homes to be built by mid-2021 as part of a £7.3 billion housing package.

Sutcliffe said Countryside’s partnerships business, which builds affordable and private homes in London’s outer reaches including Acton, Canning Town and Barnet, was “very well placed” to gain a share of the funding. 

The division works with housing associations and local authorities, and sold 1874 homes in the year to September, up 10% on the previous year. Countryside’s main housebuilding division, focused on the commuter-belt sweet spot, boasted a 64% rise in orders to a record £225.1 million. 

The business has seen little impact from Brexit. Sutcliffe added: “We have got to be wary of macroeconomics. We can’t divorce ourselves from that completely.”

Underlying operating profits rose 34% to £122.5 million, on revenues 26% higher at £777 million. The shares jumped 5.7p to 235.7p.

Founder Alan Cherry floated Countryside in 1972 and took it private again in 2005 but lenders Lloyds seized control in the wake of the financial crisis. 

It was bought by buyout group Oaktree Capital in 2013 before floating again in February this year.

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November 30, 2016 |
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