Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bellway Profits Top Pounds 100m

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bellway Profits Top Pounds 100m

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rebekah Ashby

Housebuilder Bellway has seen its profits top pounds 100m and win record forward orders.

The Newcastle-based group reported record half-year pre-tax profits of pounds 100.8m ( up 14% on a year earlier ( after operating in a "stable but competitive market".

It also spoke of plans to consider acquisitions as its rivals consolidate to drive down costs and boost their land banks.

Last night analysts described Bellway as a "star at producing what investors want".

Chief executive John Watson said the North-East market remained "reasonably buoyant" as it completed 10% more homes and the average selling price of properties lifted 4% to pounds 166,600.

Bellway said the competitive market meant incentives were still required to conclude most transactions and this figure had risen from around pounds 3,000 to pounds 4,000 per home. In the North-East however, finance director Alistair Leitch said incentives were around 50% lower due to the strength of its brand in its heartland.

Mr Leitch said: "More and more of our sales have got to have incentives in them and the cost of carpeting, paying legal fees, etc, has risen from pounds 3,000 to pounds 4,000.

"There are certain parts of the country where we don't need to offer as much and the North-East is one of those.

"The figures here are at least half that because it's our homeland and we have got good, strong management in the North-East where they are able to work year on year delivering good figures for us."

The company reported a forward order book worth pounds 732m in its interim results for the half-year ended January 31, its strongest ever figure and resulting in more than 95% of this year's target for home completions having now been secured.

Chief Executive John Watson said: "We were quite keen that we kept sight of this landmark of pounds 100m and to do that we had to deliver our forward order book. …

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