Credit jitters are beginning to hit heavily indebted companies snapped up by private equity at the height of the buyout frenzy, with property related firms hardest hit. Sunday Telegraph
Estate agent Countrywide and housebuilder Crest Nicholson have both seen the value of their debt drop amid concerns that the tough trading conditions in the market has left them vulnerable to a cooling housing market.
Last week, debt in Crest Nicholson was trading at a discount of around 20p in the pound, while some debt in Countrywide was trading at a 40p discount.
When Crest Nicholson met its banking syndicate last week, it warned that market conditions had been difficult since the credit crunch.
Figures given to The Sunday Telegraph reveal that although turnover at Crest Nicholson is 3.9% higher than last year, the housebuilder is behind on profit targets set at the time of the buyout. A source close to the company confirmed that this was the case.
Hunter’s company is believed to have made just £50m in the 11 months to September, against an ambitious target of £80m for the full year. However, trading in parts of the company, such as the retail homebuilding division, is strong. Performance at its commercial arm has suffered and management may pull £300m committed for land expenditure next year if the market has not improved by January.