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McCarthy & Stone fall into debt amid financing costs

McCARTHY & Stone, the retirement home builder, fell deep into the red in the year to August when interest charges and financing costs weighed on its bottom line.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £11.8 million compared with a profit of £700,000 in the preceding year. McCarthy & Stone recorded £19.5m costs associated with the refinancing it completed in April when shareholders including Goldman Sachs and the TPG private equity business provided £367m new equity.

The company paid £33.5m interest in the year to August and £33.9m in the preceding year. In the accounts for the year to August, directors noted its debt burden had reduced from £510m to £160m following the refinancing.

They said the company plans to acquire 250 sites in the UK in the years to 2017 to capitalise on an expected increase in demand for retirement properties as the population ages. Bournemouth-based McCarthy & Stone was acquired by a group of entrepreneurs that included Sir Tom Hunter in 2006 in a £1.1bn deal backed by Bank of Scotland.

The company was acquired by lenders in 2009 after it was left unable to service its debt amid the housing market downturn that started in 2007.

It increased turnover to £310.8m in the year to August, from £257.7m in the preceding year. Directors said the "Help to Buy" scheme helped boost the housing market.

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