Duke takes on stake in house builder Cussins.
Byline: INVESTMENT coreena ford firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Duke of Northumberland's business venture has acquired a minority stake in house builder Cussins following the exit of another investor.
Northumberland Estates has taken up a share for an undisclosed sum in the Alnwick-headquartered family firm, which has developments across the county.
The news comes as BGF (Business Growth Fund) announces the exit of its investment in Cussins, in which the family remain majority owners of the business.
Minority shareholder BGF invested PS5m in Cussins in December 2014, to support new site acquisition and housing developments, including sites at Longframlington, Warkworth and Longhorsely, while the firm also pledged to create an estimated 500 jobs on the back of new schemes.
During this time, turnover has more than trebled and sales are expected to reach more than PS15m for 2016, with further growth expected next year.
The firm is now headed by Jabin Cussins, the third generation of the Cussins family at the helm of the historic house builder, which has built more than 50,000 homes in the North East.
The business will continue to trade under the Cussins name, with Mr Cussins remaining as chief executive officer.
Mike Stansfield, the former chief executive officer of David Wilson Homes, who was introduced to the business by BGF, and Richard Taylor, who led the original investment for BGF and served as non-executive director, will both step down from the board following the exit.
BGF has backed more than 145 growing businesses and invested nearly PS1bn since 2011. The firm will now reinvest the returns from the exit into other entrepreneurial companies.
Northumberland Estates' investment cements a relationship between the two firms which first came about when Cussins struck a land deal with the Duke's business operation which triggered the firm's housing development in Alnwick, called The Limes.
The scheme was too big to be able to afford in traditional acquisition terms, but Northumberland Estates agreed to defer land value - a deal which was rare at the time, but which now occurs with firms across the country as land banks are released to help tackle the UK housing shortage. Jabin Cussins said: "We enjoyed tremendous support from BGF over the past two years and we could have happily continued our growth plans with their backing.
"At the same time, they have wholly supported our decision to progress to the next stage of our development alongside Northumberland Estates.
"BGF's original equity funding immediately helped us to secure a significantly larger bank facility, which helped us accelerate our development plans.
"The growth we have demonstrated since, and the prospects for Cussins today, are testament to impact that BGF has had."
Richard Taylor at BGF said: "In the two years since we invested in Cussins, the business has gone from strength to strength and we are fully supportive of this transaction, which has delivered a strong return for all shareholders."
Peter Cussins, executive chairman of North East housebuilder Cussins, left, with his son and chief executive of the business, Jabin Cussins
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|Publication:||The Journal (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Oct 18, 2016|
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