Builder's boss Howard Phillips quits three years after £900m debt-swap deal

Mark Leftly@MLeftly
Saturday 09 June 2012 14:13

Howard Phillips, who led the restructuring of £900m worth of debt that saved the retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone, has left the Bournemouth-based group.

A statement released to staff on Friday said: "After 12 years on the board of McCarthy & Stone, including seven years as chief executive, Howard Phillips will be leaving the company on 31 August 2012, at the end of the current financial year."

The reasons for Mr Phillips's departure at this time are unclear, but he has been widely credited with work on the debt-for-equity swap that saw its lenders, including HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group, take control of the business in 2009.

The company had been a remarkable success until it was bought off the stock exchange for £1.1bn in 2006. It was the dominant player in a niche market. However, after the credit crunch hit in the summer of 2007, McCarthy & Stone became one of the most prominent examples of otherwise healthy companies being overburdened by debt and high-interest repayments.

The Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter was one of a colourful group of businessmen who took the company private. He stumped up 8 per cent of the equity, which was later wiped out.

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