Crest Nicholson shares surge on public offering

Shares in UK house builder Crest Nicholson soared Wednesday after completing the largest construction public offering (IPO) since the economic downturn.

Shares in UK house builder Crest Nicholson soared Wednesday after completing the largest construction public offering (IPO) since the economic downturn.

The company raised gross proceeds of £22.4.9m in the float - the biggest listing since Direct Line.

Crest priced its shares at 220p, the top end of its last indicated range, valuing the business at £553m. But shortly after open they climbed 15% to 253p, before dropping back to 247p at 12:20.

The float is expected to breathe life back into London's IPO market, following the worst year for deal activity since the financial crisis.

Chief Executive, Stephen Stone, said: "Having spent 39 of our 50 years as a listed company, we look forward to re-joining the public markets.

"This is the first significant IPO of 2013 which bodes well for our industry and the wider market."

Crest Nicholson, which builds upmarket homes mainly in the south of England, was taken private by a joint venture between HBOS and Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter at the height of the property market boom in 2007.

However the group was hit by a high level of debt when house prices fell and in 2009 completed a £630m debt for equity swap.

RD

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