Maxted heads enlarged Chesterfield group

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The Independent Online
Robert Maxted emerged as head of Chesterfield Properties yesterday when the company paid pounds 21.9m for Albion, his privately held property company, and installed him as chief executive of the enlarged group.

The deal does not represent a large windfall gain for Mr Maxted, who built up Pillar Properties, as he owns just 3 per cent of the company. The bulk of the shares are held by Legal & General, Burford Holdings and Mercury Asset Management.

Roger Wingate, whose father founded Chesterfield, will remain as executive chairman. There is widespread speculation that Mr Maxted's arrival signals a shake-up of Chesterfield's assets, which include the Curzon chain of London cinemas and several West End theatres including Wyndhams.

Some of Albion's assets may also be sold. Mr Maxted said: "The property market has segmented into those companies that are active players and those that are not due to balance sheet constraints. This deal gives Albion access to the capital markets. The strategy is to become more opportunistic."

It is likely that new developments will form part of the strategy. Albion, which was founded a year ago today, has a property portfolio valued at pounds 110m, including 28 properties such as Tricorn House, an office development in Birmingham. Its net annual income is pounds 11.4m.

Chesterfield is paying for the acquisition through the issue of 4 million new shares at 545p and 2 million warrants at a subscription price of 700p.

Mr Maxted's arrival is certain to herald a new era of dynamism at Chesterfield, which has been regarded as a sleepy player with pounds 300m of assets.

The news was greeted positively in the City, where Chesterfield shares soared 41.5p to 544p.

Now 49, Mr Maxted first came to prominence in the 1980s when he was a director of Speyhawk. He was later instrumental in building a pounds 350m portfolio for Pillar Properties, which went public in 1994.

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