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Edinburgh housebuilder unveils figures

Investors on tenterhooks as Miller faces IPO verdict

Chris EndsorMiller Group, the Edinburgh housebuilder, is expected this week to make its intentions clear on a £450 million flotation of its homes division.

The company pulled the initial public offering (IPO) last October just weeks after announcing the plan, stating that markets had become too volatile. It had planned to raise £140m but the board was unanimous in the decision to call it off.

It said it would review the situation “within months” and conditions have changed markedly since then. Virgin Money which delayed an IPO as the same time, successfully went ahead a few weeks later. The stock market has been rising sharply since the turn of the year, encouraging a number of new issues.

Investors will be hoping Miller’s board, backed by 55% investor Blackstone, has decided to press the button, especially after making all the required preparations, including the sale of Miller Construction to Galliford Try.

A flotation would also give Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and National Australia Bank an opportunity to sell down parts of their stakes.

One analyst said: “The one negative is that Labour’s statements on housing have had a downward impact on housebuilding stocks.”

Miller, which is Britain’s largest independent housebuilder, unveils annual results on Tuesday, the first since the retirement of long-serving chief executive Keith Miller, the last member of the family firm to hold an executive position at the company. He was due to announce the results in mid-March and it is not known why they have been delayed.

Underlying profits at its housebuilding arm, led by Chris Endsor (pictured), almost trebled at the half year stage, surging by 189% to £19.1 million following a “significant” improvement in margins and an increase in average selling prices, which rose 11.9% to £198,000.

As of 30 June last year, Miller Homes had forward sales for the second half of £124m (641 units), compared to £92m (518 units) last year.

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