G15 housing associations announce talks over new 104,000-home merger

The plans would see 37,000-home landlord Catalyst join Peabody in spring 2022, creating the UK's second largest housing association.

The G15 housing associations Peabody and Catalyst have announced they are in discussions to merge to create a new 104,000-home organisation.

The pair say that joining together would create a “better, locally focused” organisation, with both landlords’ boards believing that a merger would bring significant benefits for residents.

The proposals would see Catalyst initially join Peabody in spring 2022, with Catalyst CEO Ian McDermott becoming CEO of the combined organisation.

McDermott would also take over as Peabody’s interim CEO after Brendan Sarsfield steps down from his role this September.

Peabody’s current chair Lord Kerslake will be chair of the new organisation while Catalyst chair Ravi Rajagopal will be its vice chair.

The pair will now start consulting with residents over the proposals and will decide whether to proceed with the merger later this year.

McDermott said: “We believe that we can go further and faster together. With our shared, aspirations and geographical reach, we can create an organisation which has customers at the front and centre of its thinking and planning. We will have a stronger local focus and be more connected with our communities.

“We can combine this with the benefits of scale and the ability created by the larger organisation. It is difficult to imagine two organisations with more closely aligned values and vision for the future.“

Catalyst currently has over 37,000 homes in London and the Home Counties. The housing association completed a merger with 11,000-home landlord Aldwyck Housing Group as recently as May 2019.

Peabody, meanwhile, is one of England’s largest housing associations. It is responsible for over 67,000 homes in London and the South East.

Should the two organisations merge, Peabody would become the UK’s second largest housing association behind 125,000-home landlord Clarion Housing Group, owning 104,000 homes.

Lord Kerslake said: “Our new association will have around 100,000 homes, and I believe that this scale, combined with our local knowledge, will enable us to provide valuable insight from our residents’ experiences to help better inform policy and have a positive impact on life chances.

“We’ll look forward to working with government and partners to develop innovative solutions that improve services to customers, enhance building safety and reduce carbon consumption.”

This latest announcement by Peabody and Catalyst is the second merger to be proposed by a G15 housing association in recent months.

In June this year, 17,000-home One Housing entered into formal discussions with North West housing association Riverside to form a new 75,000-home organisation.

It is planned that One Housing will become a subsidiary of Riverside by the end of this year, with a view to further integration between the pair in the future.

Image credit: Pixabay.

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