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HomeNewsFrench house-builder teams up with UK modular specialist

French house-builder teams up with UK modular specialist

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CGI of the new Tophat factory in Corby, due to open next year
CGI of the new Tophat factory in Corby, due to open next year

No details about the Nexity-TopHat partnership have been worked out yet – we don’t know who is going to build what where or with whose money – but they have both agreed that each would like some support from the other.

The partnership will involve Tophat contributing its “expertise and references in modular construction” while Nexity will provide knowledge of the French market for off-site construction.

Nexity, which built more than 18,000 homes in 2022, claims to be France’s largest house-builder. It aims to have 10% of its housing production completed in factories by 2028.

The company hopes that some kind of partnership with Tophat will help it to accelerate housing delivery times, raise its environmental standards, and develop affordable and energy-efficient houses.

TopHat is one of the UK’s biggest manufacturers of modular prefabricated houses. In April this year it raised £70m from new and existing shareholders to enable the business to “reach the scale where the new generation of modular homes can be made available to everyone”.

Among the new shareholders is Persimmon, one of the UK’s leading traditional house-builders.

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TopHat’s latest accounts show that its turnover increased from £6.3m in the year to 31st October 2020 to £12.4m in fiscal 2021. Pre-tax losses in the same period reduced from £21.3m to £18.0m.

The company currently makes around 800 homes a year at its factory in Derby. It is building a new factory in Corby, Northamptonshire which is scheduled to start production next year.

Commenting on the partnership with TopHat, Nexity chief executive Veronique Bedague said: “Low carbon and industrialisation are two key drivers of our Imagine 2026 strategy, enabling us to better meet our customers’ expectations, affirm our low-carbon leadership, and control construction costs.

“Our partnership with a leading industrial player in Europe, combined with our experience in low-carbon off-site construction, allows us to confidently envision the acceleration of this new industrial sector in France and actively contribute to the ecological transition.”

Her colleague, construction director Benoit Mainguy, added: Nexity has delivered over 2,000 off-site prefabricated timber frame homes and possesses real expertise. We are delighted to collaborate with a committed expert in construction industrialisation to develop high-quality, innovative, and efficient homes that significantly improve our delivery times and costs. This is the beginning of an exciting adventure.”  

TopHat founder and chief executive Jordan Rosenhaus said that the agreement signals his company’s expansion into Europe. “In partnering with Nexity, France’s leading residential development, we will benefit from Nexity’s tremendous local market experience, which will combine with TopHat’s best-in-class platform to speed up the delivery of affordable, high-quality, energy-efficient homes.” 

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