Charlton Group sale heralds national expansion


Charlton Group (UK) Limited, recognised as a regional leader in the development of first time buyer homes through Charlton Homes, and its SPACE brand which builds city centre living for higher income buyers, has been sold in a multi-million deal to McInerney Holdings plc.

Advising the Group was the Manchester office of Clearwater Corporate Finance (formerly Tenon Livingstone Guarantee). The legal advisors to the shareholders were Paul Lockett and Keith Vincent from Lockett Loveday McMahon. The Purchasers were advised by Mike Blood from Manchester solicitors James Chapman & Co.

Headquartered in Wigan and Liverpool and with a turnover in excess of £30 million, the company was set up in 1987 as Paul Bolton Civil Engineering and diversified into housebuilding in 1995 under the Charlton Homes brand. More recently, it has successfully established the SPACE brand aimed at city centre living.

McInerney Holdings plc is one of Ireland’s leading development companies, with divisions specialising in various aspects of the construction market.

McInerney Holdings plc comprises four divisions operating in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. In the business since 1909, the company is Ireland’s largest national homebuilder, and also undertakes extensive commercial and leisure projects both in Ireland and abroad. The company is listed on the Dublin and London Stock Exchanges. The company reported turnover and profit before tax of 174m and 19.1m respectively in financial year to 31 December 2000.

Barry O’Connor, managing director, McInerney Holdings plc said: “This move is part of our high growth strategy. It is in line with our objective of spreading our capital base for the highest return across our three chosen geographical markets. Following our foothold acquisition of WHL in 1999, Charlton is a logical, strategic development for us in the UK. It is our intention to provide the necessary capital to assist Charlton to further expand its home building activities.

“The North-West region, with a population of 8 million people, has benefited from the buoyant demand for housing in the UK. The Group is satisfied that the acquisition of the Charlton Group is a good cultural fit and combined with our existing operations in the region, will establish McInerney as a regional branded niche house-builder in the North-West’”

Paul Bolton (38), the founder and Chief Executive, Charlton Group said: “We’re delighted with the deal which will see the Company further develop and expand into the home building market in the North West. The current economic climate of low interest rates and low inflation combined with steady growth has created a healthy backdrop for the housing market which Charlton is ideally placed to benefit from.”

Charlton Homes will be able to further capitalise on the first time buyer market with the increased need for brownfield development on a national scale. This follows the new brownfield rules following the new government directive known as PPG3 (National Planning Guidance Note 3: Housing – aimed at increased development on brownfield sites).

The city centre living division known as SPACE, which was developed in 1998 as part of the Charlton Homes division, has already successfully completed two sites in Liverpool and has almost completed a third – the L3 project also in Liverpool.

L3 is a development of fashionable city centre apartments that has received both local and national headlines with its stylish approach. L3 is the former Parcelforce building at Hatton Gardens, which comprises 92 apartments and 23 penthouses. SPACE has teamed up with internationally renowned designer John Rocha, who has designed a breath-taking, glass-roofed central atrium and all communal areas.

Paul Bolton will continue to develop the business with its new owners along with a senior management team of 11 and 113 employees.

Carl Houghton of Clearwater was assisted by assistant director Simon Lord and executive Brian Millrine. Houghton commented “This transaction represents the natural step forward for Charlton; being part of a larger group with access to greater resources will accelerate it’s growth much quicker than would otherwise been possible.”