Berkeley founder Tony Pidgley is spending £10.5 million on one of the developer’s own luxury apartments in Belgravia, it was revealed today.
The news came as the firm impressed markets with a thumping 59p dividend as part of plans to return £1.7 billion to shareholders over 10 years, pushing the stock to a record high. The shares were up 82p, or 4%, to 2241p. The dividend is worth £3.3 million to Pidgley, who owns 5.6 million shares.
The veteran, famed for his ability to read the property market, is worth £160 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. He wants to buy a bigger apartment in Berkeley’s Ebury Square development, having previously gained approval from shareholders to buy a £6.5 million flat in the same scheme, where flats cost up to £24 million according to agent Knight Frank. At the firm’s next annual meeting, he will seek permission from investors to be released from the original purchase.
The payout came as Berkeley unveiled a 26% rise in profits to £270.7 million for the year to April 30, bolstered by its exposure to stronger markets in the capital and the South-East.
Revenues of £1.38 billion were generated by the sale of 3712 new homes in the period at an average price of £354,000. This was well ahead of the previous year’s £280,000 as the delivery of 149 apartments at Grosvenor Waterside was brought forward.
Pidgley said the firm was confident of meeting targets, but “mindful of the risks that geopolitical events, regulation, increases in taxation alongside an uncertain future tax policy and even anti-competitive rhetoric can have on the business and the wider housing market”.