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THE decision by McDonald Jones Homes to sell a 40 per cent stake to a Japanese contract builder could leadthe Hunter-founded firm to move into manufacturing.
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MJH group managing director Andrew Helmers declined to put a value on the deal that the company, founded by Bill McDonald 30 years ago, had inked with Tokyo-based custom homes builderAsahi Kasei Homes (AKH).

Under the deal, Mr Helmers, Mr McDonald and director Peter Durbin’s individual shareholder stakes of 33 per cent are reduced to 20 per cent each, with AKH taking a 40 per cent holding.

Mr Helmers said the decision would not affect the operations of MJH, which operates on the eastern seaboard, and that the capital injection would allow it to aggressively pursue its growth strategy. MJH is the sixth largest residential homes group in the country and wants to be within the top five firms.

“Growth requires capital and in the past we have always had to make choices on how it is spent and this investment allows us to implement multiple strategies at once,” Mr Helmers said.

Mr Helmers said the company’s priority in the mid-term was land development and movinginto the supply chain of supply houses.

“We are a contract builder but [we are looking into] getting into manufacturing components, frames, kitchens, maybe finance offerings to our customers, potentially new software and business operating systems,” he said.

Growth strategy: McDonald Jones Home managing director Andrew Helmers.

Asahi Kasei Homes manufactures its components and Mr Helmers saidMJH would investigate tapping into its manufacturing skillset to boost its product offering and increase housing affordability for its customers.

He said AKH had approached McDonald Jones to expand its global footprint due to the shrinking new home market in Japan.

Three AKHexecutives have been in the Hunter for the past month and Mr Helmer said it was business as usual:“We remainmajority owned and operated by Hunter-based people.” He said the new homes market was “strong” with good land supply and low interest rates.

Custom made: A sample of a home delivered by McDonald Jones Home, which champions the use of steel frames.

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