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David McLean expands with Jennings Homes buy

FINANCE Developer and contractor expands in the Midlands with £38.5 million purchase

DAVID McLean Group has acquired privately owned house builder Jennings Group, based in the Midlands, for £38.5 million as part of a growth strategy aimed at propelling the Deeside-based group into the industry's top 10 by 2015.

David McLean Holdings' chief executive Frank Reil said the acquisition was a significant milestone in its planned UK expansion.

He added: 'Combining this acquisition with our current organic growth we feel we will be well on our way to achieving our target of producing 2,000 units per annum by 2011.'

Further expansion is planned into Yorkshire and the north-east.

The Jennings deal is the largest so far for David McLean, which has a turnover of over £210 million, employs 500 and ranks as one of the UK's largest privately owned developer/contractors. It follows the group's acquisition of Cheshire-based developer Egerton Estates in 2002 and south-west-based Sharman Homes in 2004.

As well as giving it a foothold in the Midlands, the deal furthers its aim of creating a national house building brand.

McLean recently started work on its first urban regeneration scheme in the Midlands at Masshouse, a major mixed use development in Birmingham's Eastside area.

Jennings, which is expected to be renamed David McLean Homes Limited (Midlands Region), completed 230 homes in the past financial year.The acquisition will increase David McLean's landbank to over 3,000 plots.

Eric Wood, former owner and chairman of Jennings, said:

'I think this is a good move for Jennings.As the industry becomes more and more consolidated it gives Jennings the muscle to compete in an increasingly competitive market.'

Established in 1972 McLean operates as three divisions:

contracting, developments and house building, with specialisms in prestige house building, regeneration, student accommodation and retail. In the financial year 2003-4 McLean increased its pre-tax profit by 44 per cent to over £6.6 million.