Springfield on prowl after £23m financing with BoS

HOUSEBUILDER Springfield Properties is looking to snap up land and businesses after agreeing a £23 million finance deal with Bank of Scotland.

Springfield has secured new financing. Picture: PA

The deal comes immediately after Elgin-based Springfield made the final payment to complete its £49m takeover of Redrow’s Scottish developments, which launched the company into the Central Belt.

The investment will allow the developer to acquire a number of sites across Scotland, but chairman Sandy Adam said it was also on the look-out for further acquisitions.

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He said: “The [Redrow] deal has been key for us and has demonstrated how we can turn around developments that others might not have made work. If a similar opportunity came along we’d certainly give it consideration.”

He said the acquisition “came along at the right time” for the company, as Redrow had been struggling to make sales on its Scottish sites.

Springfield, which builds on a bespoke basis, had more success. It says sales rose 45 per cent at the sites once it implemented its approach, and many of the developments it acquired have now been completed.

Adam, whose grandfather founded Springfield in 1956, said there are still opportunities to pick up builders that fell into distress during the financial crisis, either because they were only now being forced onto the market or because banks were looking to offload assets they took over when debt obligations were not met.

“We are always looking to expand and if any opportunities come along we will take them,” he said.

However, the family-owned and -run firm will not be tempted south of the Border, preferring to stick to a market it knows well.

“There are plenty of opportunities left in Scotland,” said Adam, who is also chairman of industry representative body Homes for Scotland.

Already the Redrow acquisition has more than doubled the size of the company. When the deal was brokered in 2011, it had around 400 people working on its projects, while today that figure has risen to more than 1,000.

The house builder is building on more than 30 developments across Scotland, and has major developments planned for Perth and Dundee.

Turnover hit £74 million in the last financial year, an increase of £27m on the previous 12 months. It expects to report a turnover of around £90m in 2015, with the sale of nearly 500 new homes.

Managing director Innes Smith said the latest funding package ensured the group could keep growing.

He said: “Having the right working capital in place will allow us to grow our sales and drive the business forward in the coming months.”

Graham Fiddes, mid-markets relationship director for Bank of Scotland, worked with Springfield Properties to deliver the finance package.

He said: “Housebuilding is of vital importance to the Scottish economy, generating thousands of jobs across the country. Springfield has become a strong player in the sector in recent years and Bank of Scotland wants to ensure it has the means available to target further growth.”