Countryside Properties will wind down its home sale operations to focus entirely on developing partnerships with housing associations, public sector clients and other investors. The change in focus is expected to generate around £450m of cash surplus by September 2023, which it intends to return to shareholders via a share repurchase scheme. She made the change after a strategic business review. It came on the back of pressure from a US hedge fund last year, which called on the countryside to ditch its home-building arm. Group CEO Ian McPherson said the change would allow the company to focus on its strengths: “Our longstanding relationships with our partners and employees and a strong portfolio of opportunities provide us with confidence in which we can grow our partnership area in key counties. Our commitment to innovation and development of mixed tenure and building methods Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, including our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, are unmatched in the industry.” Chairman John Martin said Rural will now be able to accelerate the growth of the partnership business. It currently operates across London, the North, the Midlands and the South West, with its new division covering key counties in the South East. In its latest results for the half-year ended March 31, 2021, the Partnerships business generated an operating profit of £7.2 million against £395.8 million of revenue. Housing construction contributed £27.4 million out of £265.2 million revenue. Housing construction requires more capital from the developer than partnership projects. The countryside will use some of its assets from previously identified land to develop private sale housing for new partnership housing schemes. For the rest of their home builder sites, they will either sell them or complete their construction. I have pledged not to commit any longer to capital that does not serve the focus on growing the partnership.