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Crest Nicholson pulls back from London market

Crest Nicholson will close its central London office as part of strategy to focus on work outside of the capital.

In its interim results for the six months to 30 April, the company outlined plans to reduce dependence on work in London by focusing resources on other offices in the South of England.

An office in Kent will be re-opened as part of this strategy, the housebuilder added.

Chief executive Patrick Bergin said: “This approach will enable Crest Nicholson to continue to serve the London market where suitable opportunities arise, but provide the flexibility to reduce reliance on London volumes where conditions or returns are not attractive.”

Crest Nicholson targets the higher-end of the housing market and the company said a slowdown in that segment was expected to subdue price inflation.

The results showed revenue increased to £473.8m for the six months to 30 April, up from £419.7m in the same period a year earlier.

However, its operating margin dipped from 19.1 per cent to 17.2 per cent, with house pricing “generally flat” but building costs increasing by around 3-4 per cent.

The company said it was increasing its use of offsite manufacturing and focusing on procurement to combat rising costs.

Mr Bergin delivered his first results report as chief exeutive since replacing Stephen Stone, who stepped down after 12 years heading up the business.

Crest Nicholson’s share price was down 5.9 per cent by mid-morning.

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