Cala board meets as bid battle starts


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The Independent Online

The board of Scottish builder Cala Homes will meet today to consider the opening salvos in a £250m auction of the business.

Cala – which became the first Scottish company to list on the London Stock Exchange 137 years ago – was taken private by management in 1999.

A £280m restructuring of the company's debts in 2009 left Lloyds Banking Group with a 32 per cent stake, although the firm made its first profit since 2007 last year and has appointed Rothschild to handle a sale.

The auction has attracted interest from a succession of private-equity bidders as well as trade buyer Taylor Wimpey in the first round. It is understood that the bids so far are for the whole company, although Cala's prized assets, such as its controversial, 2,000-home Barton Farm development in Winchester could trigger a break-up.

Cala bought the site in the 1990s but has faced fierce local opposition to the development. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles granted approval to the plans in October.