, the UK’s largest housebuilder, today hailed “another outstanding year” with profits, dividends, revenue and margins all heading higher.
But, Barratt shares failed to celebrate, losing 0.4p, or 0.07%, to 535.2p.
In the 12 months to 30 June, pre-tax profit rose by 9.2% compared with the same period to 30 June 2017, at £862.6 million against £799.2 million.
Rise in housing units completed
The total dividend pay-out per share was 5% higher at 43.8p, from 41.7p, and revenue was 4.8% higher, at £4.874 billion from £4.650 billion.
Gross margin was 0.7 percentage points higher at 20.7% from 20%, and operating margin was 0.5 percentage points higher at 17.7% against 17.2%. Gross margin is calculated by deducting the cost of goods sold from sales revenue, while operating margin additionally takes into account operating expenses.
The number of housing units completed during the year was 1.1% higher at 17,579 from 17,395, and there was a 7.6% rise in tangible net assets per share, at 366p, against 340p.
Barratt said its medium-term targets included a 3% to 5% volume growth a year, a minimum return on capital employed of 25% and a minimum gross margin of 23% on land acquisition.
David Thomas, Barratt chief executive, said: “The group has had another outstanding year delivering a strong operational and financial performance, and our highest volumes in a decade. As the UK’s largest housebuilder, we are helping to address the country’s housing shortage – creating jobs and supporting economic growth whilst continuing to lead the industry in quality and customer service.”
Uncertainty over government help scheme
He added: “Our continued focus on operating efficiencies and margin initiatives is starting to deliver and we have today announced new medium term operational targets reflecting our confidence in the business going forward.
In the most recent Barratt Developments annual report, the company said: “Whilst the General Election in June 2017 created some uncertainty, government support for housebuilding and a commitment to tackle the country’s housing shortage remain.”
Since then, however, it has been suggested in recent days that the government may scrap its “help to buy” scheme, which has helped nearly 170,000 people to buy a home since it was launched in 2013. Under the scheme, anyone buying a new house can borrow 20% of the purchase price from the Government, or 40% in London.
The scheme is due to run until 2021, but no decision has been taken as to its future after that.