Esure founder Peter Wood backs luxury builder

The insurance tycoon Peter Wood is seeking a third fortune, this time in property, after sinking tens of millions into a developer of luxury homes in the UK and US.

Mr Wood, who is worth £550m after founding the insurers Esure andDirect Line, is taking a 50 per cent stake in Royalton, which has carved out a niche building multimillion-pound homes in Surrey and Berkshire. He will also become the chairman of the builder, which is run by its founder, Ken Parker.

Armed with the financial firepower of Mr Wood, Royalton intends to bring forward schemes with a gross development value of £600m over the next three years.

Mr Wood said: "I've always been interested in property and interior design. Ken was growing and looking at all his options and it's got to a size where it now needs some help from somebody like me."

Royalton may sell retail bonds to bring in more investors but Mr Wood insists that a float is not on the cards: "Public companies are always chasing the next set of figures... There's no need for a float. This is about doing something we're going to be proud of."

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