Belfast Telegraph

Brick maker Forterra building up to stock market flotation

Britain's second-biggest brick maker is pressing ahead with a stock market flotation that values the firm at £360 million.

Forterra, which makes clay bricks and aggregate blocks, is selling 70 million shares at a price of 180p, as it looks to capitalise on the UK's drive to build more houses.

The initial public offering (IPO) comes only a year after it was snapped up by its US private equity owner Lone Star in a £990 million deal with HeidelbergCement.

It follows hot on the heels of its rival, Ibstock, which floated for £770 million last October.

Forterra chief executive Stephen Harrison said: " We are excited to begin this new period as an independent company with a well-invested and efficient manufacturing base, and the appropriate capital structure to take advantage of the growing UK housing market."

The Northampton-based firm said the IPO will be for 35% of the company, with owner Lone Star holding on to a 65% stake.

Forterra employs about 1,600 people in 18 manufacturing plants across the UK.

It has been feared that a shortage of bricks could put the brakes on Britain's resurgent housebuilding industry, which has been bolstered by Government schemes including Help-to-Buy.

Last week, it was revealed that c onstruction in Britain fell for the second month in a row in February, in a further sign that firms are slowing spending ahead of the country's Brexit vote.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said output fell 0.3% compared to the month before, due to falls in the amount of new work being carried out and repair and maintenance activity.

It said all new work dipped by 0.2% in February, while total maintenance activity fell by 0.5% in the period.

The ONS also revised down the overall sector's performance in January to show a decline of 0.4%, down from a previous estimate of a 0.2% fall.