Inland Homes chair quits as company admits possible regulatory breach

Inland Homes has lost its chair and two non-executive directors, as the company admitted it may have breached rules for listed companies

On Tuesday (28 February) the publicly listed homebuilder delayed the announcement of its results for the year ending 30 September 2022 to give auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers more time to “finalise and complete the accounts and related audit procedures”.

In January, the homebuilder said it expected losses to be around £91m – more than the £37m loss it had previously predicted.

On Wednesday (1 March), the Buckinghamshire-based firm then announced that Simon Bennett, the group’s chair, and two non-executive directors, Carol Duncumb and Brian Johnson, had resigned. 

The builder, which specialises in residential schemes on brownfield land, also said it had become aware of “certain related party issues […] of which the board was not informed at the relevant times”. It said these transactions “may or may not fall to be treated as related party transactions under the AIM rules”.

Companies listed on AIM – a stock market for small and medium-sized businesses overseen by the London Stock Exchange – must immediately disclose the terms of a transaction with a “related parties” such as shareholders, directors or their family members.

Inland Homes said it was “collating relevant details” of the breach, after which an announcement will be made.

Bennett, the company’s chairman, has agreed to stay in place as a non-executive director for up to two weeks while new appointments are made. Under the company’s terms, it has to have a minimum of two directors. 

Inland Homes said it plans to reappoint its co-founder and former boss, Stephen Wicks, to its board “as soon as possible” following due-diligence checks. More board appointments will be made in “due course”, the group added. 

The company warned that if it failed to appoint any new directors in the next two weeks, its shares would be suspended. However, it added: “The company considers this to be an unlikely scenario.” 

Wicks stepped down as Inland’s boss in September after the  group warned that it expected to post a pre-tax loss of £37m due to delayed completions and land sales. 

His replacement, Donagh O’Sullivan, the former boss of Galliard Homes, lasted just six weeks in the job before stepping down in January. 

In its latest full-year results to September 2021, the firm reported a near quadrupling of pre-tax profit to £13.2m from an increased turnover of £181.7m. 

The 17-year-old group has 143 staff, according to the accounts. 

The firm was one of 49 developers to initially sign the government’s post-Grenfell ‘Developer Pledge’ last summer, committing to fix safety issues on buildings over 11 metres in height that it developed or refurbished in the past 30 years.

Shares in Inland Homes fell 26 per cent between Friday morning (24 February) and the close of market trading on Wednesday (1 March).

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