Springfield Properties acquires Livingston housebuilder in £31m deal

(L-R) Sandy Adam (chairman, Springfield Properties); Bruce Walker, (former managing director of the Walker Group); Innes Smith (chief executive, Springfield Properties)

SCOTTISH housebuilder Springfield Properties has announced its acquisition of Walker Group in a £31 million deal.

Springfield has acquired the entire issued share capital of the Livingston-based housebuilder, which is focused on private housing in Edinburgh’s commuter belt, for a net consideration of £31 million. The net consideration of the acquisition is to be funded from Springfield’s cash balances and borrowing facilities with Bank of Scotland.

The move is in line with Springfield’s strategy of increasing its land bank and sales presence, and supports the company’s existing forecasts and visibility of future years.

The housebuilder will retain Walker’s premises in Livingston, all of the company’s 50 staff and the Walker brand. Peter Matthews, Springfield’s managing director for central Scotland (private housing) will take over the responsibility of running the Walker business.

Following the acquisition, Springfield is now operating 43 active sites.

Sandy Adam, executive chairman of Springfield said, “We are very pleased to have completed this acquisition and welcome Walker Group’s employees and customers to Springfield. Walker Group has a reputation for building excellent homes in great locations. The ethos among employees and the quality and location of the land bank are a great fit for Springfield.

“The acquisition has enabled us to diversify our land bank with sites at various stages of planning and development in east central Scotland, where we have been looking to strengthen our foothold. We are pleased to have efficiently delivered a large proportion of our land-buying plans for the wider Edinburgh area, adding ten sites to our land bank in one deal rather than with multiple individual deals.

“Walker’s active sites bring an immediate sales presence in new locations and the sites in the pipeline further strengthen our land bank and enhance our quality of earnings.”

He added, “The acquisition of Walker supports Springfield’s growth aspirations with land and skilled employees. It enables us to deliver housing more widely across Scotland at a time when supply continues to fall well short of demand and average house price growth in Scotland is ahead of the rest of the UK. Interest rates are low, mortgage availability is good, barriers to new entrants are high and Springfield is well positioned to benefit.”

Innes Smith, CEO of Springfield commented, “The positive experience we have had with the acquisition and integration of Dawn Homes last year makes us confident that an established company with great people, product and reputation like Walker will be a further positive addition to our group. This bulk addition to our land bank also gives us very good visibility in our three-year projections.

“Last year we strengthened our management structure with investment in four high calibre MDs responsible for distinct geographic areas. Peter Matthews, MD of Springfield Central Scotland, will take charge at Walker, adding to the Springfield developments for which he is already responsible. We look forward to working with the Walker team and continuing to grow our business.”