Cala growth plan ahead of target after sales rise

CALA boss Alan Brown yesterday hailed an “unbelievable” year that saw the upmarket housebuilder almost double its headcount and said sales should triple within two years.

The chief executive of Cala Homes, Alan Brown. Picture: TSPL

The Edinburgh-based firm accelerated its push into the south of England by buying rival Banner in March, helping turnover to rise 22 per cent to £293 million in the year to the end of June.

Brown said: “The last 12 months has been fantastically positive for the business and we are really excited about where it’s going.”

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He said that without the contribution of the Banner business over the final three months, turnover would have been about £250m, and he expects the total to hit £800m in two years’ time.

The bulk of growth will be in the south or England but the group’s Aberdeen operations are also set to treble in size, while the business in Edinburgh and Glasgow will increase more modestly.

Already staff numbers have climbed from 325 a year ago to 640, and the firm is ahead of its targets after building a contracted land bank worth £765m.

Patron Capital and Legal & General, who bought the company last year for £210 million, are providing the financial firepower for the expansion, along with banking facilities added at the time of the Banner takeover.

Brown said: “We remain very well financed and as a result we have been able to make selective acquisitions within the land market during the period, mainly of larger sites in the south-east of England, in order to support our growth plans in the region.”

The move into southern England has helped the firm’s average selling price jump by a quarter to £415,000, and the value of forward sales on its books more than doubled to stand at £166 million on 30 June.