Tuesday 12 January 2021 8:38 am

Vistry to resume dividends after housebuilder reports strong 2020 performance

Vistry has announced it will resume dividend payouts after a strong second half performance, with the housebuilder expected to report 2020 profit of around £140m.

The FTSE 250 developer said this morning that it is planning a “modest” final dividend when it announces its full-year results next month.

Read more: Vistry Group’s forward sales boom following first-half loss

The company said the decision to resume shareholder payouts was made after a “strong second half performance” and due to its year-end net cash position of £38m  and “record” forward sales.

Profit before tax for last year is expected to reach the upper end of guidance at around £140m, Vistry announced. The company forecast profit before tax of £310m for this year, despite the ongoing impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The firm said it had seen strong demand for its homes during 2020, with private sales rate per outlet per week jumping 15 per cent in the second half to 0.62, up from 0.54 in the final six months of 2019.

Customers continued to reserve homes during the second national lockdown in November and throughout December, with underlying sales rates up 20 per cent in the final six weeks of 2020.

Completions reached the top end of expectations last year and pricing remained firm. 

Vistry said it has secured 40 per cent of its housebuilding business’s private units and 53 per cent of its partnerships divisions’ private mixed tenure units, despite the changes to Help to Buy and the end of the stamp during holiday this year. 

Vistry chief executive Greg Fitzgerald said: “I am incredibly proud of all that the group has achieved in 2020 and I would like to thank our employees for their effort and commitment.”

Read more: Housebuilders Persimmon and Vistry report growing customer demand post-lockdown

He added: “I am delighted to report a net cash position of £38m as at 31 December 2020, reflecting our strong second half performance and firm focus on cash management.

“Given the robust balance sheet position, the board now expects to resume dividend payments with a modest final dividend in respect of full-year 2020.”