Affordable housebuilder gets £65 million private equity boost

Palatine Private Equity has invested in Westleigh Partnerships Ltd, a provider of affordable residential property based in the Midlands, in a deal worth £65 million.

Founded in 1985 by husband and wife Chris and Judy Beighton, Westleigh is one of the largest housebuilders in the Midlands that focuses on the delivery of affordable homes to Registered Providers.

The Leicestershire-based business achieved sales of around £100 million, with EBITDA of more than £9 million during the financial year to 31 March, 2016. In line with this growing demand, the company anticipates sales will rise to over £165 million by 2018.

Westleigh currently employs around 300 staff, builds 1,200 properties per year and has developments in locations from Northampton in the south, to Sheffield and Grimsby in the north and east.

The deal represents a partial exit for the founders and the business will continue to be led by Ian Jones, who joined 20 years ago, as managing director, with founder Chris Beighton remaining as Chairman.

Palatine has invested £21 million for a significant minority stake in Westleigh and will support the company as it continues to tap into a rapidly growing affordable housing market. The deal was led by Palatine partner Gary Tipper and Investment Director Richard Thomas with support from Investment Executive James Painter. Both Tipper and Thomas will join the board as a Non-Executive Directors.

Richard Thomas, investment director and head of the Midlands at Palatine Private Equity, said, “In a fast growing and attractive market, Chris, Ian and their team have built a business well-placed to benefit from the high levels of demand for affordable housing. The company has a strong and entrepreneurial management team who have demonstrated their ability to grow the business to now be a market leader across the Midlands for affordable housing development. We’re delighted to be backing such a high quality business as our first deal out of Palatine’s, recently launched, Midlands office. Westleigh has some ambitious plans over the next few years and we’re looking forward to supporting the company as it expands across the UK and builds on its position in the affordable housing market.”

Chris Beighton, Chairman at Westleigh, said, “This is an incredibly exciting time for Westleigh and I am delighted that the business has attracted such a high quality investor. It is a testament to all our staff’s achievements that we find ourselves in a position of strength and this investment signifies an important period of further growth for the company.”

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