North East headquartered housebuilder Bellway said it plans to lift house building volumes by 20% having posted record first-half revenues and pre-tax profits of more than £100m.
The Newcastle-based business said it has seen strong start to the spring selling season, leading to a 39.5% lift in sales to £701.1m for the six months to January 31 2014.
Pre-tax profits soared by 73.3% to £109.2m, up on the £64.4m recorded for the half-year ended last January and demand for homes has seen the sale of 3,245 new homes, an increase of 25% compared with the same period last year.
Responding to strengthening market conditions across all regions, chief executive Ted Ayres has said the board now expects the group to deliver volume growth of around 20% in the current financial year, and the order book is already ahead of expectations, having grown in value by 63.5% to £829.5m as of March 9 – a figure representing 3,944 homes.
Ayres said: “I am pleased to report another strong performance for the six months to 31 January, 2014, with total revenue having grown by almost 40% to £701.1m, the highest ever achieved by the group in a first-half trading period.”
The company said the significant progress had been driven by growth in volume, average selling price and operating margin.
In the six month period reservations averaged 137 per week, an increase of 41% – and this rate has crept up even more in the six weeks since February 1 to an average of 138 per week from 225 sites.
Average selling price has also increased by 13.1% to £212,071.
Ayres continued: “The group’s balance sheet and operational capacity, set against a backdrop of favourable market conditions, ensures that Bellway is well positioned to pursue further, sustainable volume growth in the years ahead.
“This approach, together with strong capital disciplines, should allow the Group to deliver additional enhancements to shareholder value.”
Ayres also welcomed last week’s Government announcement regarding the extension of Help to Buy to 2020, saying it would provide greater clarity over future outlook.
Chairman John Watson also announced the dividend per share has been increased by 77% to 16p, adding: “Bellway has made significant progress with a 74.9% rise in earnings per share to 66.3p.”