Countryside Properties appoints chairman ahead of likely float

Tim Wallace
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COUNTRYSIDE Properties will today announce the appointment of David Howell as its chairman, ahead of a planned stock market flotation next year.

The building firm’s hire of the former Berkeley Group director is part of a wider move to bring its governance structure in line with that of a typical listed firm.

As part of the rearrangement, executive chairman Ian Sutcliffe will become the construction business’ chief executive. The changes were first reported by the Sunday Times.

STJ Advisors was hired by Countryside last year, and is now working on a possible float next year. JP Morgan is also working on the deal.

As the timeline is so elongated, other sale options would also be possible.

Currently Countryside is owned by Oaktree Capital.

The private equity group only bought the firm two years ago, when typically an investment would run for three to five years before any restructuring is complete and the investor would consider selling up.

This is the third flotation on which STJ has been hired to work since the start of the year.

The independent advisory firm is also working on the flotation of ticketing website, which will list in London, and gym chain Virgin Active which is expected to float in South Africa.

Countryside declined to comment ahead of this morning’s stock market announcement.

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