Belfast Telegraph

Bovis putting customers first again after complaints over poor-quality homes

Housebuilder Bovis Homes said it has made "clear progress" in addressing customer complaints over the poor quality of its properties.

The Kent-based group has been dogged by complaints over homes that were sold unfinished and had electrical and plumbing faults.

But the firm said in a trading update: "We have made clear progress in addressing the issues faced during 2016 and in particular have re-established a 'customer first' culture across the business.

"The group is confident it will deliver on its expectations for 2017."

Bovis has already made a £7 million provision to cover remedial work and compensation for affected customers and the group has announced a raft of measures to improve service.

This includes more staff to deal with complaints, the creation of a dedicated homebuyers' panel and an improved quality assurance process.

Chief executive Greg Fitzgerald, who is leading a strategic review of the business, said: "The clear focus for 2017 is on improving our production processes and efficiency, thereby ensuring we deliver quality homes to our customers.

"By the end of June I will have visited all our developments and met the majority of our people; we have already identified improvements to streamline the business, provide greater focus and be more agile."

Bovis said trading in the first four months of the year was in line with expectations, with customer interest strong and demand for homes "robust" across all regions, with modest house price inflation seen in the period.

The group said its sales rate of 0.48 net private reservations per site per week is in line with its production plans and reflects a "controlled sales release".

Bovis also said it will continue to deliver "shareholder value" following aborted attempts by rivals Galliford Try and Redrow to take over the housebuilder.

"We are clear in our goal of delivering shareholder value through maximising returns from the group's valuable landbank and returning Bovis to being an industry-leading housebuilder.

"Greg Fitzgerald will conclude a strategic and structural review of the group over the coming months and will provide an update with the half-year results announcement," Bovis added.

Bovis said it will take a £2.8 million hit related to the merger proposals to cover advisory fees.

Shares nudged up 0.2% in morning trading.

Anthony Codling, equity analyst at Jefferies, said: "Trading in the year to date has been in line with management's expectations - a strong result in our view, in the face of a significant M&A-shaped distraction earlier in the year."

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