Countryside Properties revenue and profit up; confident on outlook
Countryside Properties posted a jump in half-year completions, revenue and profit on Thursday, as it expressed confidence in the medium term and bumped up its dividend.
In the half-year ended 31 March, completions rose 15% to 1,655, while adjusted revenue was up 7% to £468m and adjusted operating profit was 14% higher at £80.6m. Meanwhile, pre-tax profit increased to £73.7m from £60.3m the year before, with both the partnerships and housebuilding divisions trading in line with the group's expectations for 2018 and "well positioned" for the medium-term.
Private unit completions rose by 23% to 773 homes, while average selling prices fell 11% to £392,000, driven by an increase in private completions from the partnerships business, particularly the regional businesses outside London where average selling prices are lower.
Net cash stood at £13.7m versus debt of £35m in 2017 and Countryside hiked its dividend by 24% to 4.2p a share from 3.4p.
In the partnerships division, completions were 109% higher at 1,172, while adjusted operating profit rose 22% to £46.8m. In housebuilding, completions increased 7% to 483 homes, while adjusted operating profit was up 8% to £37.3m.
Countryside said current trading was robust, with visitor levels, cancellations and net reservation rates all in line with expectations and the prior year.
Group chief executive Ian Sutcliffe said: "We continue to deliver our strong organic growth trajectory with robust trading in all regions. We enter the second half in great shape and our acquisition of Westleigh will further increase our momentum by expanding our geographic reach and mixed tenure delivery.
"With continued strong growth in partnerships and improved efficiency and returns in the housebuilding division we remain confident of maintaining our sector leading growth over the medium-term."
At 0815 BST, the shares were up 1.4% to 375.60p.