Housebuilder Countryside to IPO on the London Stock Exchange

Emma Haslett
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Construction In London
Global markets may be in turmoil - but housebuilders are beating the FTSE so far this year (Source: Getty)

Housebuilder Countryside has made a punchy start to 2016, announcing plans to float on the London Stock Exchange - just as global markets teeter on the brink...

In a statement this morning, the company said it wants to raise £114m to pay down debt and accelerate growth of existing sites.

Investors including Oaktree Capital will use the opportunity to sell portions of their shares.

Given recent market turmoil, this isn't exactly a vintage time to IPO - but housebuilders are bucking the trend. While the FTSE 100 has lost 5.6 per cent since the beginning of 2016, Berkeley Group's shares have gained 0.65 per cent - and while Barratt has lost 3.1 per cent, it's still beating the FTSE...

And given a series of government initiatives aimed at coaxing housebuilders into, well, building, on top of those record-low interest rates which are now expected to last until November, means now may be as good a time as ever to IPO.

Countryside said group revenue in the year to the end of September increased to a "record" £616m, up 31 per cent on the previous year.

Meanwhile, in its housebuilding division, private average selling prices rose from £367,000 in the first quarter to £513,000 this year, while total completions increased 16 per cent to 2,364 units for the year.

It added that its partnerships division, which focuses on urban regeneration, now makes up 46 per cent of revenues and 43 per cent of underlying profits.

"We have outstanding visibility to support our three-year plan of growing to over 3,600 units per annum, with operating margins of over 17 per cent. and return on capital expenditure of over 28 per cent for the group," said chief executive Ian Sutcliffe.

"We look forward to the future with confidence." Here's hoping...

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