Chance Encounter Led to Lasting Relationship

Established in 1991, Nicholas King Homes (NKH) has more than 30 years’ experience in building new homes. Davon has been the company’s trusted partner for mezzanine finance for the past decade. Here is the story of their relationship.

The Encounter

It began with a chance meeting between Nicholas King, the CEO of NKH, and David Norman of Davon. Both men were separately en route to Le Mans when they pulled into the same petrol station in France.

It was the striking sight of Nicholas’s yellow Lamborghini that sparked the initial conversation. From there, a partnership blossomed.

Navigating Turbulent Times

In the wake of the 2008 credit crunch, NKH faced formidable challenges as two of its three primary finance sources stopped lending. Anglo Irish had failed and real estate specialist Heritable was taken out of the equation when it was bought by an Icelandic bank.

“They were scary times,” recalls NKH Deputy Chief Executive Nick Bilsland, who joined the company four years before the crash.

Happily, the business managed to trade out of the situation and by late 2009 was looking at going back into the land market.

It was around this time, on that French forecourt, that David Norman of Davon met Nicholas King, the eponymous chief executive of the company. A keen motor enthusiast who races an Aston Martin DB4, Nicholas was sitting in his Lamborghini when David knocked on the window.

Initially attracted by the stunning sports car, David then noticed the NK Homes sticker in the rear window which moved the discussion from cars to cash. David told Nicholas that Davon could help with specialist financing, and so it proved to be.

NKH’s first deal after the crunch was four houses in Fulham with a sales price of around £2 million each.

David took the lead on that and introduced NKH to Close Brothers who provided senior debt for the scheme with Davon putting in a tranche of mezzanine funding. That scheme completed in February 2010, and NKH is still working with Close Brothers. “It’s a great relationship, and they have been massively supportive over the years, as have Davon,” says Nick Bilsland.

Nick Bilsland emphasises Davon’s strengths, particularly the accessibility and understanding demonstrated by directors David Norman and Chris Hector.

Unlike some larger institutions, Davon’s personalised approach allows for open communication and adaptability, essential qualities in the challenging world of housebuilding.

“Davon’s strong point is that David and Chris are two people you can talk to,” says Nick Blisland. “They understand the vagaries of housebuilding and that things don’t always go to plan. It is how you react and adapt that distinguishes established businesses like ourselves. Davon gives us the flexibility to adapt.”


The latest project where Davon has provided mezzanine finance for NKH is Hatchet Lane Farm, Ascot, a collection of six homes ranging from two-bed semis to four-bed detached. Sharing a communal area including a pond in a picturesque setting on the outskirts of Ascot, the development has a GDV of £6.6 million.

Strategic Financing

NKH has used mezzanine finance to plug gaps in funding of developments in the past but now takes a more strategic approach.

Davon’s mezzanine financing was not used simply to get the Ascot project over the line. Instead it released capital for the acquisition of land for NKH’s next development at Oakley Mews in Windsor.

That demonstrates NKH’s attitude to using mezzanine funding, which Nick Bilsland explains: “The decision to go with mezzanine is very much corporate-led rather than focused on the individual development.”

Top of Form

Founded in 1996 and with more than 25 years’ experience in the mezzanine finance sector and property development finance, Davon provides specialist financial support for SME residential developers for projects ranging from new build developments to refurbishments for onward sale or investment.

The lasting partnership between NKH and Davon continues.