Crest Nicholson boss to retire

Crest Nicholson has announced the departure of its chief executive Peter Truscott, as it also reported a 70 per cent slump in pre-tax profit.

The housebuilder said Martyn Clark, currently chief commercial officer at Persimmon, would replace Truscott, who will retire after a handover period starting later this year.

Crest Nicholson posted a pre-tax profit of £41.4m for the year to 31 October 2023, in line with a trading update last week but well down on an initial estimate of £74m and the prior period’s figure of £137.8m.

Revenue was more than a quarter lower than in 2022, at £657.5m in the latest results.

Truscott, who joined Crest in 2019, said the most recent year had been “among the most challenging for the group since the global financial crisis in 2008”. The departing chief executive cited reduced sales activity and price falls among the difficulties of the current market.

However, he added: “During FY23 we increased investment in work-in-progress and strategically acquired high-quality land to strengthen our land portfolio, supported by our balance sheet.

“This strategic move positions the group to capitalise on growth when the market returns to a more normalised level.”

Crest said in November that its costs had soared by £11m on a mixed-use project to revamp Farnham town centre in Hampshire, a scheme that includes 230 apartments as well as shops and other facilities.

The housebuilder said last week that it had identified additional costs following a review, and today (23 January) it revealed that these amounted to £2.5m at Farnham and a further £3m elsewhere.

On top of its slide in profit, the firm registered an exceptional charge of £13m in its latest results, in respect of a legal claim relating to a three-storey apartment scheme it built that was damaged by fire in 2021.

On leaving the company, Truscott said: “It has been a pleasure to work here. Despite challenging market conditions in recent years, the group has made good progress.”

Clark said he was looking forward to joining Crest Nicholson and “working with the board and wider team in the next phase of the group’s growth”.

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