The Grandstand, Bath And West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN

Yorkshire Post –
£1bn boost for regeneration projects

23rd November 2006

By David Parkin, Business Editor

A NEWLY-LAUNCHED Yorkshire property company has secured major investment from the world's biggest insurer to spearhead its £1bn drive into the UK property market.

US group AIG has created the joint venture with Ilkley-based London & Wharfedale which has been founded by Richard Froggatt, the former director of developer St Modwen, and ex-Asda property director Stephen Clark.

AIG, which is one of the biggest development funders in Europe, is ready for a major thrust into the UK market and will work with London & Wharfedale, which Mr Froggatt said will specialise in large regeneration projects.

The US group, which sponsors Premiership club Manchester United, is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange as well as exchanges in London, Paris, Switzerland and Tokyo.

It operates in 130 countries and had revenue last year of $108bn (£56.6bn). Mr Froggatt played a key role in taking St Modwen from an £85m business to one of more than £600m while Mr Clark worked at Asda for 25 years, a period in which the Leeds-based supermarket group grew from 60 stores to 320.

Fellow London & Wharfedale director Nic Mellor was a senior finance executive at St Modwen for a decade where he was responsible for its £500m investment portfolio and played a key role in raising £250m of bank finance. The new venture has its head office in Ilkley and other offices in Birmingham and London.

Mr Froggatt said: "We want to create things that we can be proud of. Of course, we want to make money. We expected a very slow start, but now we'll be working with the 15th biggest company in the world. AIG have asked us to work with them on a couple of major projects. We are looking at major mixed use regeneration schemes "We're looking at projects around the country, including a major one in South Wales. The hole at the moment is Yorkshire; we would really like to do something in Yorkshire."

Mr Froggatt led St Modwen's projects at the former Corus steelworks at Llanwern in South Wales and the acquisition of the Longbridge site in Birmingham from MG Rover. Mr Froggatt and Mr Clark have worked together in their previous roles. During his time at St Modwen, Mr Froggatt worked on many major regeneration projects such as Harpurhey, Wythenshawe and Edmonton Green.

"We're all passionate about property development through partnership and understanding and working towards our partners' real objectives," commented Mr Froggatt.

"The thing that motivates us is the desire to really make things happen: to make a difference. We've all been in this business long enough to know that we can deliver. "We are putting together developments which have genuine regenerative qualities; which can provide sustainable community benefits as well as creating sound investments." "We're looking at initial individual commitments of up to £50m at the moment," said finance director Mr Mellor. "We have substantial resources of our own as well as a number of very strong funding partners."

Back to previous page