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Berkeley Group hires KPMG for audit role

LONG-SERVING AUDITORS to FTSE 250 housebuilder Berkeley Group have been replaced by a Big Four rival.

KPMG has replaced PwC as auditor of Berkeley after 29 years in the role, taking on the position after the business listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1984.

The audit was won after Berkeley had undertaken a tender “in accordance with evolving best practice”.

In what has been a busy few days for the housebuilder, after the release of strong interim trading figures the half year to 31 October, it also announced the appointment of McLaren Group CFO Andy Myers to the board as a non-executive. Myers will chair its audit committee from the next AGM, in September 2014.

The six-month period saw a 19.2% increase in profits, to £169.5m, on revenues of £821m. A further dividend will be paid out of 90p per share (£117.9m) in January, as the group looks to return £1.7bn in cash to shareholders no later than September 2021.

The group has invested £4bn into land and building works in the last five years however, chairman Tony Pidgley warned that further investment would require more tax stability in the UK.

“Berkeley has the capacity to invest further, which would create more homes and jobs, but is concerned by the increased uncertainty created by the ongoing debates surrounding the future of property taxation and international buyers,” he said in the stock exchange statement.

Its share price was 41p lower in this morning’s trading, at 2,496p – valuing the company at 3.3bn by market cap.

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