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Expanding builder Morris sets four-figure sales target


MORRIS, the privately owned house builder that bought Allen's housing arm for £24 million three years ago, expects to sell 1,000 homes for the first time this year.

The firm sold 830 homes in the year to March 2002 and turned over £102 million but it expects sales to hit four figures this year and lift turnover to £140 million.

Morris is still looking for acquisitions but managing director Mike Gaskell said: 'The corner stone has got to be to expand organically. As a pure house builder, we're probably the biggest private one left.'

Morris made an operating profit of £13.1 million last year but expects this to rise to £20 million this year, with pre-tax profits up to £16 million from £9.5 million.

The firm has expanded out of its traditional base in the northwest and this year's turnover from that region will be equalled by sales in the Midlands.

Morris was a family business until 1988 when, with a turnover of only £2 million, it was bought by Riordan Industries. Morris now has a land bank of 7,000 consented plots.

Riordan sold Morris to a management buyout in 1990 and eight years later Mr Gaskell secured backing from venture capitalists 3i and Quayle Monroe to clinch another buyout.