LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Construction and housebuilding company Galliford Try on Wednesday posted an 18-percent rise in six-month profit to a record high driven by a buoyant housing market and said it aimed to more than double its full-year profits by 2018.
Pretax profit for the six months to December 31 rose to 38.1 million pounds ($63.6 million) from 32.3 million on revenues also up 18 percent at 803.5 million pounds.
Housebuilding unit Linden Homes posted a 20 percent rise in revenues and an operating margin of 13.5 percent.
Margins in construction, which makes up 60 percent of Galliford’s business, fell to 1.4 percent from 1.8 percent though its order book edged up to 1.25 billion pounds.
Galliford said it had secured a 400-million-pound five-year unsecured bank facility which it said would support a new growth strategy to 2018.
It said it aims to more than double 2013 pretax profits and earnings per share by 2018, with a greater increase in the dividend.
The company, whose financial year runs from July to June, posted a full-year 2013 pretax profit of 74.1 million pounds in September.
The profit increase would be driven by better margins and growth in its housebuilding unit, where it is targeting a 50 percent rise in revenues from 2013 levels, and by expanding its building and infrastructure businesses by 50 percent.
The British housing market has been boosted by recent government schemes to provide mortgage support to house buyers.
Galliford said it was confident of meeting its own expectations for the full year and raised its mid-year dividend by 25 percent to 15 pence per share.
Shares in Galliford closed at 1,158.16 pence on Monday, valuing the company at 961.3 million pounds.