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UK homebuilder Berkeley's founder dies, aged 72

London

UK HOMEBUILDER Berkeley Group Holdings announced the death of its founder and chairman Tony Pidgley. He was 72.

Mr Pidgley "started Berkeley by building one house and his vision grew into a FTSE 100 company", chief executive officer Rob Perrins said in a statement on Friday. "He knew he would never retire, so he ensured that his culture was embedded in the company for when this sad day came."

Mr Pidgley left school at 15 and went on to found his own haulage and plant-hire company, his biography on the company's website stated. He sold the business at the age of 19 to Crest Homes and became a director where he learnt the housebuilding industry.

From there he left to found Berkeley in 1976, growing the business to become one of the country's largest housebuilders.

He made his reputation as a shrewd timer of the property cycle, notably steering the company through the global financial crisis relatively unscathed. He took advantage of that downturn to load the company with cheap land that went on to fuel outsize profits for shareholders over the following decade.

Interim chairman Glyn Barker said that Mr Pidgley created a "unique company", and that under Mr Perrins' leadership, "Tony's values of ambition and quality will ensure the business continues to flourish." BLOOMBERG

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