M J Gleeson

M J Gleeson
Private (LSE: GLE)
Industry Construction
Founded 1903
Headquarters Fleet , Hampshire
Key people
Dermot Gleeson, (Chairman)
Alan Martin, (COO)
Revenue £117.6 million (2015)[1]
£22.0 million (2015)[1]
£12.4 million (2015)[1]
Website www.mjgleeson.com

M J Gleeson Group plc founded in 1903 specialises in urban regeneration and land development. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has public-facing divisions Gleeson Homes and Gleeson Capital Solutions.


The business was founded by Michael Joseph Gleeson, the official date given by the Company being 1903.[2] Having left his native Galway Michael Gleeson had been working for a small building firm in Sheffield, married the owner’s daughter and 1903 was the point when he effectively took control of the business. The name of the business was changed to M J Gleeson in 1915.[3]

Michael Gleeson operated as a contractor and a developer in the Sheffield area, South Yorkshire – he owned cinemas and a racetrack. The firm began taking contracts South East England in 1930 and in 1932 Michael sent his nephew John Patrick `Jack` Gleeson to manage the embryonic housing developments.[3] Gleeson began with building an estate of some 750 houses in Cheam followed by smaller estates in Ewell and Sutton, all at the time in Surrey.[4]

During World War II for military use, Gleeson concentrated on the construction of aerodromes, giving it equally civil engineering capability that was to be its strength after the war in peacetime. Although the Company again undertook housing and property development in 1955, the 1960 flotation stressed civil engineering contracts which included power stations, sewage works and sea defences.[2]

Like his uncle before him, Jack had no sons and he too brought in his nephew to succeed him, Dermot Gleeson had been working in the political arena and first joined the Board as a non-executive director in 1973; he joined the Company full-time in 1979, became Deputy Managing Director in 1981 and Chief Executive in 1988. The group had been extending its property holdings and it used the 1990 housing recession to increase its commitment to private housing. The small quoted company, Colroy, was bought in 1991, followed by the residential business of the Portman Building Society in 1994.[5]

In 2005, the group made a £18m loss, primarily due to losses in the building division, which was then sold to the management. In March 2006, a strategic review was announced whereby the civil engineering business would also be sold (it was bought by the Black & Veatch); peripheral business would be disposed; the investment properties put up for sale; and the traditional speculative housing replaced by urban regeneration.[6] By the end of the year the group was concentrating on urban regeneration, residential property management and land trading. However, substantial losses were again incurred in 2008 and 2009; costs were cut and the geographical focus was narrowed to the north of England. The group is now in modest profit.[7]


The company has three divisions:[8]

Major projects


  1. 1 2 3 "Annual Report 2015". M J Gleeson. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  2. 1 2 Prospectus 1960
  3. 1 2 Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5,
  4. Alan Jackson, Semi-Detached London, 1973
  5. "Gleeson posts rise but sees margins under pressure". The Independent. 20 October 1994. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  6. Press statement 31 March 2006
  7. Gleeson accounts 2008-11
  8. Group accounts
  9. 1 2 "Gleeson spurns takeover advance". Yorkshire Post. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
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