Under-siege housebuilder Bovis targets Wates boss as next chief

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/under-siege-housebuilder-bovis-targets-wates-boss-as-next-chief-10808750">Under-siege housebuilder Bovis targets Wates boss as next chief</a>

Bovis Homes (Frankfurt: 911164 - news) , the struggling housebuilder being stalked by two rivals, has approached the boss of construction firm Wates Group about parachuting him in as its next chief executive.

Sky News has learnt that Bovis's board has identified Andrew Davies, who has run Wates for the last three years, as a potential successor to David Ritchie, who left in January after a profit warning.

Sources close to Bovis said an approach had been made to Mr Davies in recent weeks, although it was unclear on Monday whether any discussions with him were ongoing.

One insider confirmed that Bovis's search for a new boss was "accelerating", but said that several external candidates had been approached and that there was no frontrunner for the job at this stage.

Mr Davies would be a well-received choice for the post.

Privately owned Wates, which operates in a range of construction and maintenance activities, reported on Monday that annual profits had risen by 17%.

Its boss joined the company in 2014 after a long career at BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) , Britain's biggest defence contractor.

The effort to recruit a high-quality candidate to run Bovis, which has a market value of £1.2bn, comes as two rival housebuilders decide whether to launch fresh takeover bids for the company.

Bovis said last week that it was in talks with Galliford Try (Stuttgart: 0GF.SG - news) , the owner of housebuilder Linden Homes, about a deal, adding that it had rejected an offer from Redrow (LSE: RDW.L - news) .

Reports at the weekend said that Redrow, which is run by the former Wolverhampton Wanderers FC owner Steve Morgan, was being encouraged by Bovis shareholders to make an improved offer.

Richard Marwood, a fund manager at Royal London Asset Management, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It would be potentially neater to do it with Redrow because it's a pure housebuilder.

"It looks a cleaner deal. Obviously the level of the Redrow offer was less attractive than the Galliford offer so it would need to be increased."

Mr Ritchie was ousted as Bovis's boss after a sharp decline in its financial performance, with subsequent allegations emerging in The Times that the company was offering cash incentives of thousands of pounds to move into unfinished properties.

Bovis and Wates both declined to comment.