Dorset

UK's leading retirement home builder could be sold

The UK's biggest builder of retirement homes could be sold or listed on the stock market as part of a review of the group.

Bournemouth-based McCarthy & Stone last month revealed its best annual results since the financial crisis.

The group, which sold nearly 1,400 properties in its last financial year, was taken private in an ill-fated £1.1bn deal in 2006.

And a debt-for-equity swap left it 25% owned by lender Lloyds Banking Group.

Mark Elliott, the former boss of Doncaster Racecourse owner Arena Leisure, was recently appointed as chief executive and has appointed investment bankers at Moelis & Co to look at its future options.

The review of the business comes ahead of a refinancing of about £500m in debt that is due by April 2014.

Chairman Alan Bowkett said the group was "starting to look at strategic options to accelerate the achievement of our goals and take full advantage of the growth in our market".

Options being considered include a sale of the business, flotation or refinancing.

The group was founded by John McCarthy and Bill Stone in 1963 and began specialising in building retirement homes in the 1970s.

It employs about 700 people and has developed homes for about 45,000 retired residents.

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