Bellway sees strong demand continuing after profit jump
LONDON Oct 15 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Bellway said easing mortgage lending and improved consumer confidence helped it deliver a 34 percent rise in full year profit, and said the current year had started strongly.
The Newcastle-based company said on Tuesday pretax profit for the year to July 31 rose to 140.9 million pounds ($225.65 million), from 105.3 million pounds, on a 10.6 percent increase in revenues to 1.1 billion pounds.
Analysts were expecting pretax profits of between 137-143.3 million pounds, a Thomson Reuters survey of 13 analysts showed.
"More favourable mortgage conditions, a gradual improvement in consumer confidence, together with a continuing programme of site openings, have allowed the group to deliver its fourth consecutive year of earnings growth," Chairman John Watson said.
"Since 31 July, reservations have remained ahead of last year and demand remains strong in most areas of the country."
A recent government scheme, known as Help to Buy, to help Britons purchase homes with small 5 percent deposits have also helped to stoke demand for homes build by Bovis and its rivals.
Bellway said its order book at July 31 totalled 3,525 plots, up from 2,533 in 2012, and had a value of 679.5 million pounds.
The company also increased its final dividend by 50 percent to 21 pence per share. Net bank debt fell to 5.8 million pounds, from 40.6 million pounds over the year, representing gearing of only 0.5 percent.
The company said it could build 15 percent more homes in the current financial year after it opened two new divisions in Manchester and the Thames Valley which increased its operational capacity to 7,500 homes and beyond per annum.
Shares in Bellway closed at 1386 pence, valuing the company at 1.68 billion pounds.