An American hedge fund has taken control of Crest Nicholson in the latest twist at the former HBOS-backed housebuilder, it has been reported.
Varde is working with Crest on a balance sheet restructuring after buying the builder’s £500 million debt pile in recent months, the Sunday Telegraph said.
Surrey-based Crest, which operates in the South East, South West and the Midlands, builds around 2,000 homes a year and was previously owned through a joint venture between HBOS and Sir Tom Hunter, the Scottish entrepreneur.
The consortium bought the firm for £1.2 billion in 2007 - close to the peak of the housing market - in a deal that was paid for almost entirely through debt financing.
Crest was then subject of a £630 million debt-for-equity swap in March 2009, a move which left it owned by a consortium of 24 banks.
The number of lenders is thought to have been whittled down to fewer than 10 by Varde, which also acquired the interest of HBOS owner Lloyds Banking Group.
Varde was set up in 1993 and has offices in Minneapolis, London and Singapore.
Despite the ownership upheaval, Crest is understood to be trading well having seen a 25% lift in sales compared with a year ago, the newspaper added.