Cala plans to “significantly” expand the business and its land bank – particularly in the Midlands – after Patron and Legal & General fended off six rivals to buy the group for £210m.
Cala group chief executive Alan Brown told H&V News they had eight serious expressions of interest in the firm, and are now aiming to develop 1,000 units annually within two or three years.
The Edinburgh-based housebuilder is also hiring extra staff to meet capacity across its head office and regional operations, and increasing its number of sites by half.
Mr Brown said some of the housebuilder’s regional arms were “slightly undersized” in terms of efficiency, especially in the Midlands.
The housebuilder operates in the North, East and West of Scotland, as well as the Midlands and South-east.
“What we’re looking at doing is expanding those [regional] businesses to match capacity,” said Mr Brown. “There are significant markets we can attack in those areas.”
While he said Cala would be sticking with premium residential building – describing it as the firm’s “raison d’etre” - he didn’t rule out sideways moves into markets such as build to rent.
“There’s nothing off the table – and nothing on the table – at the moment.”
On Monday Cala announced that they had been acquired by Patron and Legal & General for £210m.
Each business is to take a 46.5 per cent equity stake in the housebuilder, while Cala senior management will take seven per cent.
Lloyds bank had previously been a majority shareholder after a debt-for-equity swap in 2009.
Mr Brown said the move “absolutely” heralded a return to confidence in housing, adding that there appeared to be “a greater appetite” throughout summer 2012.
“It was quite obvious at that point that there has been a change and there is greater interest in the market.”
He added that Cala had seen a “particularly strong start” to the year, and that the buyers had been attracted by the brand’s market position as an upmarket builder and their health and safety record, which he described as “the best in the industry.”
Patron and Legal & General will each have two representatives at board level, but Mr Brown insisted there would be no changes of leadership.
He also said there were no specific exit plans for the investors, adding that the Patron fund was based on 12-year investments.