Blackstone UK resi investment installs next chairman

The Miller Group, the UK’s largest privately-held homebuilder, now 50 percent owned by The Blackstone Group, has appointed Phillip Bowman to be its next chairman.

The UK’s largest privately-held UK homebuilder, in which The Blackstone Group recently acquired a 50 percent equity position, has installed its next chairman.

The Miller Group, which operates house-building, property development, construction and mining businesses, and controls a development land bank valued at £3.6 billion (€4.4 billion; $5.8 billion), has appointed Philip Bowman as chairman, effective today. He succeeds Sir Brian Stewart.

Bowman is currently chief executive officer of global technology company Smith Group and was previously chief executive of Scottish Power, the UK-focused gas and electricity provider. He is also a senior independent director at fashion group, Burberry Group and has held roles at Allied Domecq, British Sky Broadcasting, Scottish & Newcastle, Bass, Liberty and Coral Eurobet.

The appointment  comes shortly after The Miller Group was recapitalised by GSO Capital Partners, the credit business of New York-based real estate and private equity giant The Blackstone Group. In December, GSP injected £160 million of capital into The Miller Group, which ultimately led to it assuming a 50 percent ownership stake in the company. The capital enabled The Miller Group, based in Edinburgh, to refinance its then-£600 million debt pile with new five-year facilities. Its lenders had included Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and National Australia Bank.

GSO Capital is one of the largest credit-oriented alternative asset managers in the world with $28.7 billion in assets under management as of 30 September. Blackstone acquired the platform in 2008.

Bowman said of his appointment: “I am delighted to join The Miller Group at a very exciting point in its development. Its financial strength has been transformed by the recent capital injection by GSO Capital Partners and The Blackstone Group. The Miller Group has a very successful track record of producing many fine buildings and developments and the outlook for the future is extremely positive.”

In its annual report for 2011, The Miller Group reported a group turnover of £588 million and a profit of £208 million before interest. The firm’s chief executive, Keith Miller, said Bowman joins at a time when the firm was eying “further development and expansion”.