Cala builds strong foundations as new chief is unveiled

The firm is behind a string of luxury developments including the conversion of Edinburgh's former Donaldson's College. Picture: Contributed
The firm is behind a string of luxury developments including the conversion of Edinburgh's former Donaldson's College. Picture: Contributed
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Upmarket Scottish housebuilder Cala Group has appointed a new boss and unveiled a sharp rise in home completions.

The firm, which is behind a string of luxury developments including the conversion of Edinburgh’s former Donaldson’s College into a new residential project, also revealed that 29 new sites had been contracted during the year with a potential gross development value of £1.1 billion.

In a trading update for the 12 months to the end of June, Cala flagged “another year of strong momentum”.

In March, insurance major Legal & General (L&G) swooped to take full control of Cala in a transaction that valued the Edinburgh-based group at more than £600 million.

The deal involved L&G paying about £315m to acquire the remaining 52.1 per cent of the housebuilder that it did not already own. Cala’s ownership was split between L&G and Patron Capital in 2013, with the management team holding a small stake in the business.

Cala has now appointed Kevin Whitaker as group chief executive, with a starting date of 1 August. Currently one of two regional chairs, Whitaker was previously managing director of the Cala Homes East division.

Graham Reid, group finance director, had assumed the role of interim chief executive at the end of April following the news that previous boss Alan Brown was retiring after 32 years with the company.

Reid said: “The past 12 months have been a landmark year for Cala. The continued strength of our performance produced a sixth consecutive year of outstanding delivery, while we were also able to further expand our growth targets based on our consistent track record and investment in the business in recent years.”

The firm is changing its year end from 30 June to 31 December to align with parent Legal & General. In its last full-year results, for the year ending 30 June 2017, Cala posted record profits of £68.5m.

The trading update showed that total home completions had risen by 29 per cent to 2,171. The average selling price of the group’s private homes fell to £463,000 from £497,000 a year earlier due to a “change in site mix and continued transition away from the top end of the market”.

Private revenue per site per week rose 2 per cent to £277,000.