Barratt's profit jumps as housing recovery ripples out
LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Barratt Developments reported a 74 percent jump in full-year pretax profit and said it had made a strong start to the new financial year as the country's housing recovery spreads beyond London and south east England.
The company, Britain's largest housebuilder by volume, said on Wednesday profits before tax and exceptional items for the year to the end of June rose to 192.3 million pounds ($302 million), from 110.7 million pounds last year.
After exceptional items of 87.5 million pounds, which were related to the company's refinancing and the impairment of a commercial joint venture, pretax profits were 104.8 million pounds. Revenues rose 12.2 percent to 2.6 billion pounds.
The adjusted pretax profit number came in at the top end of analyst predictions, Thomson Reuters data showed.
"These are significantly improved results and we have had a very strong start to the new financial year," Chief Executive Mark Clare said.
"We are seeing the housing market recovery starting to spread beyond London and the south east with a 29.4 percent increase in our average net private reservation rate across the group."
Barratt said private forward sales were up 44.4 percent to 880.4 million pounds at Sept. 8, and that it was continuing to see good opportunities to buy land that met its minimum standards of 25 percent return on capital employed.
Britain's housing market has revived in recent months thanks to a recovering economy and government schemes to help struggling buyers. A survey on Tuesday showed British house prices recorded their fastest rise in almost seven years last month and sales volumes jumped to a multi-year high.
The company also said it was proposing a final dividend of 2.5 pence per share.