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McCarthy & Stone valued at $1.5 bln in London listing: Reuters

(Reuters)
McCarthy & Stone Plc, Britain’s biggest builder of homes for retired people, said its London debut had been priced at 180 pence per share, valuing the business at 967 million pounds ($1.5 billion).

Shares in the company rose 13.5 percent to 204.21 pence in conditional trading on Friday as investors bet on further gains in the UK’s strong residential property market.

McCarthy & Stone targets 90 million pounds from the initial public offering (IPO) to help fund a 2.5 billion-pound investment in land and construction projects over the next four years.

The listing comes at a time when an acute shortage of housing property in the UK has steeply pushed up prices and, in tandem, driven up the valuations of listed builders, such as Taylor Wimpey Plc, Persimmon Plc and Barratt Development Plc.

Now as some investors begin to view traditional property stocks as priced out, their yield hunt is making them keener on tangential areas such as student housing, retirement homes and the private rental sector.

McCarthy & Stone was the first British developer to offer owner-occupied retirement housing in 1977 and has since sold around 50,000 homes. Its typical properties include private apartments for retirees and shared ground floor facilities.

When the company first announced plans to list in October, Chairman John White said that around 3.5 million Britons were interested in purchasing a retirement property, but only 128,000 properties had been built as of April 2014.

McCarthy & Stone was listed in London for 22 years before being taken private through a 1.1 billion pound deal in 2006 by a consortium led by Halifax Bank of Scotland and including Scottish businessman Tom Hunter and the Reuben brothers. It was later bought by a consortium including Goldman Sachs and TPG.

The IPO comprises of about 186.9 million shares, or about 35 percent of its issued share capital on admission, the company said.

Goldman, TPG, Anchorage Capital and Strategic Value Partners collectively own about 57 percent of McCarthy & Stone with the rest held by other smaller investors.

Selling shareholders would receive gross proceeds of about 246 million pounds without the over-allotment option, the company said.

McCarthy & Stone shares are to begin unconditional trading on Nov. 11.

Conditional trading allows banks and brokerages to trade shares between themselves and stabilise the price of an IPO before the stock is issued to the public.