Crest Nicholson raises targets as profits surge

 
Kasmira Jefford
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CREST Nicholson has ramped up its housebuilding targets after reporting a leap in first-half profits, buoyed by an improving market and a Conservative election win.

The housebuilder said it plans to build 4,000 more homes and generate £1.4bn of revenue by 2019 after refocusing its London arm towards more affordable areas such as Peckham and Lower Sydenham. That compares with its previous target of 3,500 homes.

Chief executive Stephen Stone said that a “clear outcome in the General Election” with a Conservative majority government in place provided a “good operating backdrop” for the sector and gave the company the confidence to increase its targets.

The company reported a 52 per cent surge in pre-tax profit to £58.3m, prompting it to hike in its interim dividend to 6.4p per share from 4.1p.

Revenue jumped by 38 per cent from £241.1m in 2014 to £332.2m.

The group completed sales on 1,124 homes compared to 1,091 in the first six months of 2014, while open market completions rose by eight per cent.

Forward sales showed the strength of the market and were up 26 per cent to £436.4m compred with £347.3m in the first half of last year

Earnings per share were up 51 per cent to 18.6p, while operating profit margins widened to 19.1 per cent, driven by efficiency on its overheads.

Shares in the company climbed 2.11 per cent on the news to 556p.