Barratt will pay dividend in 2013 as profit surges

HOUSEBUILDER Barratt Developments yesterday posted a strong bounce in profits, up 159 per cent over the year to 30 June.

Pre-tax profit increased to £110.7m, up from £42.7m over the same period in 2011.

Investment in higher margin land and an increase in housing volumes flattered the numbers, as Barratt completed 12,637 properties over the period.

Revenues for the FTSE 250 group, which owns the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes brands, jumped 14.1 per cent to £2.3bn.

Average selling prices of Barratt’s properties were also up, to £180,500 from £178,300 last year, with more robust pricing seen in London and the south east.

Net debt nearly halved over the year to stand at £167.7m at the end of June, while forward sales were up 15.3 per cent to £609.6m as of 9 September.

Mark Clare, group chief executive, said that this year had seen “rapidly improving” performance across the group, despite “continued uncertainty” in the outlook for the wider UK housing market and “constrained” levels of mortgage finance.

He added: “In the current financial year we expect to make further good progress, with more than half of completions forecast to be delivered from our more recently acquired higher margin land.”

After unveiling the soaring profits, the housebuilder said it will resume its dividend next year, the first it has paid since February 2008.

The company and its rivals Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon are benefiting from a lack of available new homes in Britain and government schemes to spur the market, which have shored up demand despite a gloomy economic outlook.

Last week, the government also unveiled reforms to ease planning laws and boost construction, which will have a positive impact on housebuilders such as Barratt.

Barratt shares closed down 6.66 per cent yesterday at 158.8p.