Bovis Homes expects strong pick-up in profits

LONDON, July 8 Tue Jul 8, 2014 2:57am EDT

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Bovis Homes expects a material increase in first-half profit after delivering a record number of legal completions, the company said on Tuesday.

The 129-year-old housebuilder, which has focused on more affluent regions in the south of England in recent years, reported 1,487 legal completions in the six months to June 30, up 54 percent on the same period last year.

The average sale price on legal completions was up 11 percent at 210,000 pounds ($357,300), while the operating margin is expected to be at least 15 percent, against 11.1 percent last year.

The bullish update follows similarly upbeat statements from rivals Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon as builders benefit from improving sentiment around the housing market and government measures to help people on to the property ladder.

"Bovis Homes has delivered its highest ever number of first-half legal completions, driven by the high-quality investments made during the past few years," Chief Executive David Ritchie said. "This is expected to lead to excellent first-half results with a material improvement on last year." ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds)

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by David Goodman)