Bellway record HI earnings

Bellway achieved record first half earnings following further volume growth in the six months to the end of January.

The group said a clear operational emphasis contributed to the completion of 4,462 homes (2016 - 4,188), a rise of 6.5%.

And it said ongoing customer demand was strong, resulting in the reservation rate increasing by 6.4% to 166 sales per week (2016 - 156 sales per week).

It said: "The average selling price of private homes has risen by over 4% to £291,467 (2016 - £279,053), influenced by investment in higher value locations over recent years.

"Overall, the Group achieved an average selling price of £256,140 (2016 - £257,280), with this slightly diluted by the higher proportion of social housing completions.

"For the full financial year, the overall average selling price is expected to rise by some 3% to around £260,000 (31 July 2016 - £252,793)."

Revenues rose to £1,148.5m - up 5.9% - and operating profits were up 8.6% at £252.6m while pre-tax profits increased by 9.3% to £247.6m.

CChairman John Watson said: "Bellway's strong operational focus and consistent execution of its growth strategy has resulted in a record number of legal completions in a first half year and another excellent financial performance.

"The emphasis on volume growth, together with a further rise in the operating margin, has resulted in earnings increasing by over 10% to 163.9p per share, the highest achieved by the Group in a first half trading period.

"Bellway is achieving this growth whilst retaining a focus on return on capital employed and maintaining an appropriate and conservative use of bank debt and land creditors.

"Our strong balance sheet and operational capacity still provides scope for further controlled expansion, enabling Bellway to achieve additional, future volume and earnings growth, by continuing to invest in attractive land opportunities across the country."