Chelsfield sets pounds 100m shopping centre plan

Click to follow
ELLIOTT BERNERD'S Chelsfield property group yesterday unveiled a pounds 100m scheme to extend the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley, West Midlands, which is likely to create 2,000 jobs.

Chelsfield also announced it had increased its stake in the centre from 50 to 90 per cent at a cost of pounds 27m, met from existing resources.

The company has applied for planning permission for a 650,000 sq ft extension, to include a department store and food court. Chelsfield says it has already had detailed talks with the borough's officers.

Mr Bernerd said: 'The proposed extension represents a natural evolution and is in direct response to existing customer and tenant demand. Growth in overall turnover at Merry Hill was 15 per cent last year and the centre is fully let.' Chelsfield's shares rose 2p to 160p on the news. The company joined with two Saudi investors to buy Merry Hill from the receivers of the Mountliegh property group for pounds 128m in 1993. Mr Bernerd then spent pounds 7.1m raising his stake from 30 to 50 per cent last May.

Chelsfield recently announced plans for an pounds 80m speculative office development in the West End of London, in partnership with the Australian insurance giant AMP.

Mr Bernerd floated Chelsfield in December 1993, and it made doubled interim pre-tax profits of pounds 4m to 30 June 1994.