February 12, 2018 / 3:10 PM / a year ago

Investor Woodford doubles stake in British builder Crest Nicholson

(Reuters) - The investment house owned by UK investor Neil Woodford has nearly doubled its stake in Crest Nicholson (CRST.L) to 10.34 percent, becoming the UK housebuilder’s top investor, a regulatory filing showed on Monday.

Reuters data indicates this would make Woodford Investment Management the top investor in Crest, having increased its stake to 10.34 percent from 5.21 percent earlier.

Last month, Crest, which operates in south Wales, London and southern and eastern England, said it had appointed Patrick Bergin as chief executive and reported a 6 percent rise in full-year pretax profit.

Woodford is a sizeable investor in UK property. His firm owns stakes in housebuilders Barratt Developments, Countryside and Taylor Wimpey, commercial property owners NewRiver REIT, Warehouse REIT and Regional REIT as well as online real estate agent Purplebricks.

The group said in January in a portfolio update that they remained convinced the UK housebuilders, including Crest, “all benefited from a more favourable environment than of late, but in our view, remain at very depressed valuation levels”.

Woodford and Crest were not immediately available for comment on Monday.

Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru and Maiya Keidan in London; Editing by Adrian Croft

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