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19May94 UK: HIGGS CALL FOR CASH TO BUY SITES.

Higgs and Hill has launched a rights issue to raise £22.2 million to buy house building sites largely from English China Clays in western and south-east England.Higgs is buying 13 sites for £22.5 million to build 930 homes.The firm says the acquisitions will enable it to raise volumes to around 650 units a year by 1995 and will form a new housing region in the West.It is paying £19.3 million for 10 sites for 800 units from English China Clays, which has been winding down and selling its house building arm for two years. The sites are in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, East Sussex and Kent. The three other sites are in Hertfordshire, Kent and West Sussex.The average plot cost of the new sites is around £24,000, implying a gross margin for the house builder of 18 per cent.Higgs says its sales in the first four months of this year are on budget and its second half sales are forecast to be substantially higher.Last year Higgs raised its unit sales to 332 units from 262 units. CONSTRUCTION NEWS