THE UK’s biggest builder of retirement homes could be sold or listed on the stock market as part of a review of the group.

Bournemouth-based McCarthy & Stone has appointed investment bankers at Moelis & Co to look at its future options following the recent appointment of chief executive Mark Elliott.

McCarthy & Stone, which sold nearly 1,400 properties in its last financial year, was delisted from the London Stock Exchange in a £1.1billion deal led by entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben in 2006.

The review of the business comes ahead of a refinancing of about £500m in debt that is due by April 2014 and the company is taking the opportunity to look at its options after a recent improv-ement in performance.

Figures for the results to the end of August show underlying earnings rose 10 per cent to a five-year high of £39.9m after sales jumped 12 per cent to £257.7m.

Options being considered include a sale of the business, flotation or a refinancing.

The group was founded by John McCarthy and Bill Stone in 1963 and began specialising in building retirement homes in the 1970s.

It employs around 700 people and has developed homes for around 45,000 retired residents.