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Investors take 55pc of Miller as £160m deal signed off

The Miller Group has completed a £160 million financing deal that passes 55 per cent of the family business to investors.

The landmark deal has been signed off between the house builder, construction and property development and mining firm and GSO Capital Partners - a subsidiary of the US private equity giant Blackstone - weeks before the firm reveals its annual accounts.

It puts Miller in a stronger position to invest in its housing land bank, pursue plans to grow its construction business and tackle large debts it incurred from the housing crash.

GSO Capital leads an investor group made up of chief executive Keith Miller and other group executives, Noble Grossart, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland - which already had a stake in the firm - and National Australia Bank.

They are investing £160m of new equity capital into the group. It means a strengthened balance sheet with pro forma net assets of about £220m. Miller is also refinancing its existing debt, with new five-year facilities provided by current banking partners, Lloyds, RBS and National Australia Bank.

Mr Miller said: “I am extremely pleased to announce that the transaction has now been completed. We are delighted to have attracted this significant capital investment from a number of high quality investors led by GSO.

“This new investment strengthens the Miller Group substantially and will allow us to deliver further growth from a strong base at a time when our markets are showing good signs of recovery.

“I am looking forward with enthusiasm and confidence to working alongside GSO and our other investors to deliver further success for the Miller Group.”

Michael Whitman, senior managing director of GSO said: “Our investment provides the Miller Group with a strong financial foundation to capitalise on a unique portfolio of assets. We look forward to working with Keith, his team and the employees to pursue the many opportunities presented by the current environment.”

Miller was lumbered with huge debts after the housing crash. It reported a £170m reduction in its 2010 accounts last year, to £500m. In March last year, the firm also reported it had cut its pre-tax losses from a 2008 high of £170m to £58m last year, a 20 per cent improvement on 2009’s performance and largely down to lower exceptional costs from reducing staff numbers.

That came after three years of difficult trading which saw turnover tumble from £1.05 billion in 2008 to £738m in 2009 and £666m last year.

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