||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (August 2008)|
|Industry||Buy-to-let Investment Property|
|Key people||Grant Bovey, CEO|
Imagine Homes Ltd was at one point one of the largest purchasers of residential property in the United Kingdom. Founded by CEO Grant Bovey in 2003, Imagine Homes began operating from offices in Kew, Surrey, with a total of four employees. In 2007, Imagine Homes achieved substantial growth, with headquarters located in Farnborough, Hampshire, offices in Canary Wharf, Dubai, Singapore and Dublin, and employing over 80 staff worldwide.
Imagine Homes operated in the UK buy-to-let industry, working with established property developers to offer off-plan investment opportunities throughout the United Kingdom, i.e. they would buy properties from developers, fit them out, then market them to investors as "buy-to-let" properties. The company's tag line was "The simple way to profit from property".
Grant Bovey's company rode the rise in property prices in the UK and internationally, and rode the fall in property prices until Bovey lost control in early 2009 after being personally wiped out.
In September 2007 the Daily Telegraph reported that a proposed IPO by Imagine Homes had been abandoned. Instead the business was recapitalised by a £37.5 m equity-and-debt injection from HBOS. The flotation plans were put back until 2009 at the earliest. The decision to pull the flotation was caused by:
- Significant softening in the business’s main market, the sale and rental of new build residential property. The business model of Imagine Homes depended on “Buy to Let” investors feeling confident enough in price rises to buy property with the expectation of rising property prices and rent high enough to cover their costs.
- The correction of a prior year accounting errors in the company’s report and accounts which had resulted in the overstatement of revenues. After correction of the error, the reported losses before tax had more than doubled to £6.42m in the year to March 2007 compared to £2.81m for the previous year.
- Weakening equity markets would not have helped the flotation of an investment prospect linked to the property market.
HBOS, as part of their refinancing, asked for improved Corporate Governance within Imagine Homes. They recruited two non-executive directors to the board.
On 23 February 2009, The Daily Mail reported that HBOS had taken over the company, and that Bovey and his wife Anthea Turner had been forced to put their Surrey mansion up for sale. The article quoted them as saying that they had been substantially wiped out and that only a small fraction of their net worth remained. The Daily Mail also reported that Anthea Turner is doing television commercials for household detergents to make ends meet, as well as a satellite show about ridding your home of pests.
Imagine Homes Limited was placed in administration in May 2009.