The Berkeley Group Holdings plc (LSE: BKG) is a British housebuilding company based in Cobham, Surrey. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
The Company was founded by Tony Pidgley and Jim Farrer in Weybridge in 1976 as Berkeley Homes. Pidgley (who was the dominant partner) and Farrer had previously run the housing division of Crest Homes and it was their aim to focus on executive housing on single plots or small sites. Over the next few years, Berkeley expanded across the home counties and, although still building less than 100 houses a year, it floated on the Unlisted Securities Market in 1984.
After the flotation, Berkeley expanded geographically to the west, the south midlands and East Anglia; it also formed a joint venture, St George, to build in central London. By 1988, Berkeley was building over 600 executive homes a year. By then Pidgley was aware of the overheating in the housing market and sold houses aggressively to realise cash. For two years the company did no more than break even but its cash position was strong and in 1991 it was able to purchase the Manchester-based Crosby Homes and the outstanding 50 per cent of St George; Berkeley also began buying large development sites at depressed prices. The 1990s was the decade in which Berkeley moved its operational orientation to major urban regeneration sites in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other northern cities.
In the early 2000s, Berkely refined its strategy to concentrate on fewer schemes, primarily large scale urban redevelopment in the London area. In 2003 it announced the deferred sale of Crosby Homes. The reduction in scale was intended to generate surplus cash and in 2004 a scheme of arrangement was announced to return £1.45m to shareholders.