Bellway expects strong demand as profits jump

RITISH housebuilder Bellway said easing mortgage lending and improved consumer confidence helped it deliver a 34 per cent rise in full year profit, and said the current year had started strongly.

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The Newcastle-based company said yesterday pre-tax profit for the year to 31 July rose to £140.9m, from £105.3m, on a 10.6 per cent increase in revenues to £1.1bn.

“More favourable mortgage conditions, a gradual improvement in consumer confidence, together with a continuing programme of site openings, have allowed the group to deliver its fourth consecutive year of earnings growth,” chairman John Watson said.

“Since 31 July, reservations have remained ahead of last year and demand remains strong in most areas of the country.”

Bellway said its order book at 31 July totalled 3,525 plots, up from 2,533 in 2012, and had a value of £679.5m.

The company also increased its final dividend by 50 per cent to 21p per share. Net bank debt fell to £5.8m, from £40.6m over the year, representing gearing of only 0.5 per cent.

The company said it could build 15 per cent more homes in the current financial year after it opened two new divisions in Manchester and the Thames Valley.