Crest Nicholson

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Crest Nicholson
TypePublic
LSECRST
IndustryHousebuilding
Founded1963
HeadquartersChertsey, Surrey, UK
Key people
Iain Ferguson (Chairman)
Peter Truscott (CEO)
RevenueDecrease £677.9 million (2020)[1]
Decrease £57.1 million (2020)[1]
Decrease £(10.7) million (2020)[1]
Websitewww.crestnicholson.com

Crest Nicholson is a British housebuilding company based in Chertsey, Surrey. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

History[edit]

Napsbury Park, a Crest Nicholson redevelopment in Hertfordshire

1963-2000[edit]

The company was founded by Bryan Skinner in 1963 as Crest Homes and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1968. One of the characteristics that differentiated Crest from most other housebuilders of the time was “not to hold large stocks of land”.[2]

Crest’s first diversification was in 1969 when it bought En-Tout-Cas, the leading name in tennis court construction. More significant was the 1971 acquisition of Tony Pidgley’s earth moving business. Pidgley teamed up with Jim Farrer, a board member and originally the estate agent who had provided Skinner with his first land. These two ran Crest’s housing until 1975 when they left to form Berkeley Homes.[3]

In 1972, a new holding company, Crest Securities, was formed to facilitate further diversification.[4] At the end of that year, Crest bought Camper & Nicholsons, the leading yacht maker, hence the change of name to Crest Nicholson. More unrelated acquisitions followed in the form of Lamson Engineering (1975), the spectacle makers Crofton (1979) and Greenwood Electronics (1983). Crest also bought the west-country construction firm of CH Pearce in 1985.[5]

Bryan Skinner retired through ill health in 1983 and, gradually, much of the earlier strategy was reversed. Non-housing businesses were sold in the late 1980s and in the housing division Crest began to follow a policy of acquiring a long land bank.[3]

2000-present[edit]

In 2007 the company was taken private after it accepted a £715 million offer from a consortium led by HBOS and Sir Tom Hunter, the Scottish entrepreneur.[6] The company was re-listed on the London Stock Exchange in February 2013.[7]

In 2010, subsidiary company Crest Nicholson (Londinium) Ltd. was party to a high court and Court of Appeal case which addressed the difference between the court's role in construing the terms of a contract which two parties had agreed, and its role in assessing whether an offer capable of acceptance had been made, and if so, whether it had been accepted.[8]

In 2018 it was reported that the chief executive of Crest Nicholson had stepped down as the company reported growing profits. Stephen Stone who had been the boss of the housebuilder for 12 years became executive chairman and Patrick Bergin took his place.[9][10]

In June 2018 it was reported that the company would be pulling back from London as a cost-cutting measure.[11] It will close its central London office and will be less likely to buy land in London.[12]

As a result of the company's lower profits, in January 2019, Crest Nicholson put a £400 million housing development in Hove on hold. The company's chief executive, Patrick Bergin, told The Times that "It would be imprudent of us to make a commitment on a scheme of that type when we’ve got limited visibility on future pricing."[13]

In September 2019, the company appointed Peter Truscott as their new chief executive, adopting a new strategy to reduce overhead costs and reposition its margins.[14]

In January 2020, Truscott said the company had over-concentrated on building off-site manufacturing capabilities, and would now focus on improving on-site operational efficiency and on introducing group-wide construction specifications to cut material buying costs.[15] Poor financial performance was blamed on political uncertainty and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and led to the company consulting on 130 redundancies from its 966-strong workforce.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2020" (PDF). Crest Nicholson. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  2. ^ Company prospectus September 1968
  3. ^ a b Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5
  4. ^ Company prospectus March 1972
  5. ^ "ISG snaps up Pearce and plans Asian shopping spree". Building. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Crest Nicholson goes private". Building. 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Housebuilder Crest Nicholson enjoys first float of the year". The Telegraph. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  8. ^ England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Crest Nicholson (Londinium) Ltd. v Akaria Investments Ltd., 2010, EWCA Civ 1331 (25 November 2010), accessed 26 December 2020
  9. ^ "Crest Nicholson boss steps down as profit rises". Construction News. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  10. ^ Fraser, Isabelle (2018). "Crest Nicholson boss steps down as housebuilder reports growing profits". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  11. ^ Monaghan, Angela (2018-10-17). "Crest Nicholson issues profit warning as house sales in London slow". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  12. ^ "Crest Nicholson pulls back from faltering London market". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  13. ^ Clarence-Smith, Louisa (2019-01-30). "Crest Nicholson forced to halt building project". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  14. ^ Rannard, Storm (2019-10-31). "Crest Nicholson working on 'value generating strategy'". Insider Media Ltd. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  15. ^ Prior, Grant (28 January 2020). "Crest Nicholson blames profit wobble on offsite focus". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Crest Nicholson interims show £51m loss; job losses to come". The Construction Index. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.

External links[edit]