Offers invited as Stewart Milne calls it a day

Stewart Milne

Nearly 50 years after founding the group, chairman Stewart Milne, who turns 72 in July, is making plans for his retirement.

The board has decided to capitalise on favourable market conditions and put the business up for sale.

Stewart Milne sold the timber frame division of the group last year to Donaldson to focus on house-building in its core markets in Scotland and northwest England.

The sale comes as  Stewart Milne Homes has delivered one of its best ever financial performances for the year ending 31st October 2021. These accounts will show a substantial increase in turnover and profits driven by high demand for family homes, the board said.

Stewart Milne himself said: “The unprecedented events of the last two years have forced many to re-evaluate and, after considerable soul-searching, I have decided that the time is right to step back from the business I founded to prioritise my time for family, friends and other ventures I want to pursue.

“In the last 18 months, we’ve significantly strengthened the business with major efficiencies and our new homes range. This ambitious overhaul of our designs offers a new range of spacious, high quality family homes that meet the changing needs of buyers. We are superbly placed to capitalise on the favourable market conditions and demand which are set to continue in the near-term.”

The Stewart Milne Group board reckons that, to realise its growth ambitions, investment is required, particularly in its strategic land bank. It considered options with advisers before deciding on putting up a ‘for sale’ sign. Ernst & Young has been appointed financial adviser for this process.

Stewart Milne Group chief executive Stuart MacGregor said: “We anticipate attracting a high level of interest from potential buyers who will invest in order to capitalise on the strength of our business and the buoyancy of the current homes market.

“We have one of the strongest sales pipelines in our history and anticipate generating significant sales over the next two years. With a strategic bank of land, award-winning developments, our new homes range and recently completed investments in new IT systems and in digital transformation, Stewart Milne Group presents a compelling proposition. Our design and build standards of excellence in creating distinctive and highly desirable communities are a key differentiator, positioning us as a leader in place-making.

“However, with land prices rising, more investment is needed to take advantage of our unrivalled landbuying experience and the development opportunities available.”

Stewart Milne Group has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester with a workforce of 1,000, including subcontractors. Around 20 developments are currently at various stages across Scotland and northwest England including Dargavel Village, Shawfair, Haddington, East Linton, Hooton and Congleton.

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