April 10, 2019 / 6:57 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-McCarthy & Stone first-half profit falls on higher costs

(Adds details on cost, orders, strategic review)

April 10 (Reuters) - Retirement homebuilder McCarthy & Stone Plc said on Wednesday posted a 66 percent drop in pretax profit for the first-half, as it racked up one-time costs of 14 million pounds related to its new business plan to beef up margins.

Since April last year, the company that buys land and then builds, sells and manages retirement houses and flats, has been undergoing a strategic review, led by Chairman Paul Lester.

The company said its orders as of April were down 17 percent at 485 million pounds compared with a year earlier. Its operating margin for the six months ended Feb.28 also fell to 2.1 percent from 5.6 percent a year earlier.

However, its underlying margin rose by 1.6 percentage points to 7.6 percent.

The first-half pretax profit of Britain’s biggest builder of homes for retirees fell to 3.6 million pounds from 10.5 million pounds ($13.72 million) last year, but underlying profit rose by 64 percent. ($1 = 0.7655 pounds) (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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