Chesterton to join market at more than pounds 50m

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The Independent Online
THE PROPERTY consultant and chartered surveyor Chesterton International is planning a summer stock market flotation that will value the company at more than pounds 50m and raise an average pounds 100,000 for 400 employee shareholders.

William Wells, executive chairman, said: 'We have grown through the recession whilst maintaining a good level of profit. The company is well placed to benefit from the improving property market.'

Chesterton, founded in 1805 and now employing 1,400 staff, includes the Church Commissioners, the Crown Estate, Eurotunnel and Walt Disney among its clients. One of the leading UK surveyors, it is represented in 118 cities around the world.

Last year profits were pounds 3.9m from turnover of pounds 48.8m, unchanged from the 1992 result and pounds 500,000 lower than in 1991. Forecast profits for the year to June 1994 are expected to show good underlying growth and will benefit from eight companies acquired over the past two years.

The proposed flotation will give Chesterton a similar stock market value to DTZ Debenham Tewson, one of the few publicly quoted surveyors in an industry characterised by partnerships. Other firms with a stock market listing include Savills and Herring Baker Harris.

Both Debenham Tewson and Savills recently reported improved profits after an increase in demand for commercial property, where falling investment yields have pushed capital values sharply higher over the past year.

Chesterton International was formed in 1987 from a merger of Chesterton, a Kensington-based firm, with rivals from Bristol and Birmingham. Chesterton's residential arm, now owned by Woolwich Building Society, was sold the previous year.

About two-thirds of sales come from property consultancy, including property management, valuation, rating and planning work and research. The remainder derives from agency work, through Chesterton's network of 25 UK offices and 119 directly owned and associated overseas branches.

In 1992, Chesterton returned to the residential market with the acquisition of the upmarket agent De Groot Collis.