Barratt Developments, the UK house builder, reported on Wednesday that strong customer demand saw total completions rise by 2% in its first half, driving first half profit to a record high.
Completions rose to 7,324 plots despite several housing surveys during the period that showed demand for UK housing was slowing, particularly in London and the South-East of England.
Barratt said pre-tax profit in the six months to 31 December rose 6.8% year on year to £342.7m a record first-half performance for the group in its 60th year.
Other first-half financial highlights
- Revenue rose 9.5% to £1.988bn
- Profit from operations climbed 9.6% to £355.2m
- Operating margin rose to 17.9% from 17.8% in H1 2016
- Interim dividend of 8.6p per share up from 7.3p in H1 2016
- Net cash falls to £165.9m from £196.7m in H1 2016
- Net private reservations up 6.5%
- Total forward sales up 2% to £3.078bn as at 18 February
The company also announced plans for capital returns, with an ongoing commitment to its ordinary dividend and payment of two special dividends of £175m in November 2018 and November 2019.
David Thomas, chief executive (left), said: "With good consumer demand, a healthy forward order book and a robust balance sheet, overall we have had a strong first half and we continue to deliver against our operational and financial objectives.
"As the UK's largest housebuilder, we enter our 60th year increasing our housing output, creating jobs and supporting economic growth across the country.
"Having built more than 450,000 homes since 1958, Barratt remains focused on quality, design and industry-leading customer service while delivering homes the country needs."
Investors welcomed the record results and news on dividends and after just a few minutes of trade on the London Stock Exchange, the FTSE 100-listed company was up 2.56% at 576.6p.
Picture courtesy of Barratt Developments