UK housebuilder Crest Nicholson narrows IPO price range-source

Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:00am EST

* Price range narrowed to 210-220 pence

* Order books to close on Tues, pricing on Weds

LONDON Feb 12 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Crest Nicholson has narrowed the price range for its share float on the London Stock Exchange to between 210 pence and 220 pence per share, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The new range would value Crest at about 550 million pounds ($861 million).

The company began taking orders for the offer under a bookbuilding process on Feb. 1 at a price range of 195 pence to 230 pence per share.

Order books on the sale of the mix of new and existing shares, which the company has said will result in the float of at least 35 percent of its issued share capital, will close on Tuesday, with pricing expected on Wednesday.

The 50-year-old firm said it would return to the stock market last month, five years after it was taken over as a result of the market crash.

Crest, which was taken private by Scottish entrepreneur Tom Hunter and mortgage lender HBOS in May 2007, is now majority-owned by U.S. distressed investment fund Varde Partners after a series of deals last year.

Peel Hunt analyst Robin Hardy advised the broker's clients to subscribe to Crest's IPO, saying that the company looked set to come to market on a valuation below that of its peers, despite a "differentiated business model, attractive operating profile and genuine expansive growth."

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