Largest Dutch builder sees bottoming out of home market in 2014

AMSTERDAM Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:31am EST

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AMSTERDAM Feb 20 (Reuters) - The Dutch housing market is expected to bottom out in 2014 after more than five years of declines that have devastated the construction industry, the country's largest builder said on Thursday.

BAM gave the brighter outlook as it said its 2013 profit before tax, impairments and one-off charges more than halved to 49.8 million euros ($68.5 million), from 108.8 million euros in 2012.

Credit rating agency Fitch said on Wednesday that it expected home prices in the Netherlands - which have tumbled an average of 20 percent since their 2008 peak - will hit rock bottom this year.

"Barring a further unforeseen deterioration in market conditions, we expect 2013 to represent the bottom of the market in the Netherlands and that 2014 will be a year of stabilisation," BAM said in a statement.

BAM's home market of the Netherlands has suffered from a continuous decline and 2013 was another difficult year, its chief executive, Nico de Vries said.

"Markets in the Netherlands in 2013 turned out much tougher than expected, which put great pressure on many of our Dutch operational and property activities," he said.

BAM took a 25 million euros restructuring charge and impairment of 30 million euros, mostly for Dutch property.

BAM had warned as recently as November that it expected the result before tax and non-cash impairments for the full year to be substantially lower than the 2012 figure.

Group revenue in 2013 fell 2.5 percent to 7.042 billion euros, led by a sharp 16 percent drop in the Netherlands, while the order book slipped 6.5 percent to 10 billion euros.

Analysts in a poll commissioned by Reuters had forecast full-year pre-tax profit before impairments of 47.3 million euros and revenue of 6.996 billion euros. ($1 = 0.7271 euros) (Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Sara Webb)

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