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Housebuilder says Brexit would force it into standby mode

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  • 15/06/2016
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Housebuilder says Brexit would force it into standby mode
Property developer Crest Nicholson has revealed its stance should the UK vote to leave the European Union next week, explaining it will halt certain elements of its business in the event of a Brexit.

In a report by the Telegraph, Crest Nicholson’s chief executive, Stephen Stone, said the firm would freeze land purchases and put off employing staff for a number of months.

He added that the housebuilder would also assess its policy each quarter, raising concerns that a Brexit would disrupt the imports of essential materials from Europe, such as timber, kitchen components and bathroom tiles.

The number of workers arriving in the UK from eastern Europe, which the building sector relies on to plug its skills gap, could also drop if the UK chooses to vote leave on June 23, leading to a negative impact on the number of properties built, Stone said.

However, Stone said that despite nerves surrounding the upcoming referendum, demand for new homes remained “strong.”

Crest Nicholson’s half-year results for the six months to the end of April showed it achieved revenue of £408.1m, a rise of 22% on six months earlier. Gross profit also increased to £110.4m, up by 20% on the previous half.

Operating profit reached £77.8m, compared with £63.6m in the previous half and completions were 7% higher at 1,206.

Stone added: “While the debate about the forthcoming referendum on UK membership of the European Union continues to dominate the headlines and the board notes the risk of business disruption in the event of a vote to leave, purchaser demand for new homes remains strong and Crest Nicholson has delivered a 9% increase in open market completions in the first half of this year.

“We continue to grow our private rented sector offering and have delivered 173 private rented sector units in the first half, on schemes in Bath, Bristol and Southampton. The business is well positioned to achieve its target of £1bn of revenues in 2016 and to continue growing its contribution to overall housing delivery.”

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