Splash secures £125m loan, sells shares to managers

Urban Splash has announced a £125m refinancing with three banks and plans to sell nearly a quarter of the business to its management team.

Founders Tom Bloxham, chairman, and Jonathan Falkingham, chief executive, are selling shares worth a total of 24% of the business, which began in Liverpool in 1993.

Bloxham will remain majority shareholder and Falkingham a significant minority shareholder.

Seven managers have been offered the chance to buy between 1% and 5% each, these are:

  • Julian Curnuck, finance director
  • Nathan Cornish, MD Midlands
  • Jason Collard, MD South West
  • Simon Gawthorpe, MD Yorkshire
  • Richard Oakes, MD Manchester
  • Gary Jackson, MD Urban Splash Build South
  • and Wade Martin, non-executive director, formerly regional managing director of the National Westminster Bank before his retirement in 2000.

The share price has not been disclosed. Splash has a net asset value approaching £100m, having risen sharply from £7m in 2003 due to widened geographical focus outside its North West origins.

Bloxham said he now wishes to create a further £100m of value in the next five years and wanted to align the shareholders with the management of the business.

Last year Fiona Woodward, sales and marketing director, sold her stake back to the business before leaving and later this year Bill Maynard, managing director of the Liverpool office, will do the same. Both held around 2%. Three other existing shareholders retain their stakes: Richard Ridings, executive director of Urban Splash Build; David Hydock, MD of Urban Splash Build North; Nick Johnson, deputy chief executive.

The £125m debt-refinancing package was agreed with HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Co-operative Bank. The cash will be used to maintain ongoing operations of the business, which employs 280 people, and fund further expansion.

Urban Splash's commercial property portfolio totals nearly 1m sq ft and is valued at £150m. It is over 90% let and has a rental income of £10m a year.

Urban Splash Build, the in-house construction division, has a £100m turnover, has completed £500m of developments and has a further £1bn of schemes in the pipeline.

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