Belfast Telegraph

Retirement builder revenues rise by third with more home sales and price hikes

Retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone has seen revenues leap by a third as it sold more properties at a higher price.

The Bournemouth-based firm said revenues stepped up 33% to £250.2 million in the six months to February 29, driven in part by a 19% jump in legal completions to 923 units.

The FTSE 250 firm was also boosted by a surge in the net average selling price to £253,000 for the first half of the year, up 12% on £226,000 last year.

It said pre-tax profits were flat at £29 million over the period , compared with £29.1 million in 2015.

But operating profits came under pressure, slipping 11% to £30.1 million, as it was impacted by £9 million of costs linked to its Initial Public Offering (IPO) last year.

Shares stepped up nearly 1%, as the firm said it was on track to meet its full-year target of 20% volume growth.

The firm added that it would begin to pay out an interim dividend of 1p a share in May, with a final dividend of 3.5p per share.

Chief executive Clive Fenton said the company had delivered "significant growth" and held a "strong" order book for the second half of the year.

He added: "Our land bank now includes sufficient land with full planning consent to deliver all targeted sales to 2017, and sufficient land under control to deliver all targeted sales to 2019.

"In the first half, we have put in place the regional infrastructure and management capability necessary to help deliver these sales, which gives us confidence in the progress we are making in achieving our strategic objective of building and selling more than 3,000 units per annum."

The firm said underlying operating profit lifted 10% to £40.2 million for the first half of the year, up from 36.5 million last year, despite ploughing investment into new regional offices and infrastructure.

McCarthy & Stone floated on the London Stock Exchange last year, valuing the business at £967 million. It entered the FTSE 250 on March 21.

Shore Capital analyst Robin Hardy said: " The business has been radically reformed and, now being run by former FTSE 100 house builder main board directors, is a much more dynamic business than the one that was taken private some 10 years ago."