Barratt Developments profit more than doubles

House-builder Barratt Developments more than doubled half year profit and, after a good start to the second half, it expects a further improvement in profitability this financial year.

House-builder Barratt Developments more than doubled half year profit and, after a good start to the second half, it expects a further improvement in profitability this financial year.

Pre-tax profit surged 113.4% to £46.1m for the six months ended December 31st 2012. Revenues slipped to £951.1m during the period from £952.8m in 2011, in line with expectations.

Profit from operations rose 32.2% to £80.8m, with operating margin increasing to 8.5% from 6.4%. Completions fell to 5,085 units from 5,117 units a year earlier while private completions increased by 5.3% on the prior year to 4,241 units.

Commenting on the results Chief Executive Mark Clare said: "Our order book of more than £1.1bn reflects the strong customer interest we have seen in the early weeks of the year, supported by both NewBuy and better lending conditions."

"Although we remain cautious as to whether the thaw in lending conditions will be sustained, improvements in mortgage lending and the success of the NewBuy scheme have supported a strong start to the 2013 calendar year."

Barratt said it is making good progress towards its target of achieving zero balance sheet net debt by June 2015.

Net debt as at December 31st 2012 was £331.7m from £542.2m a year before and is forecast to be around £160m at June 30th from £167.7m in the equivalent period a year earlier.

The board expects to propose a final dividend for the year ended June 30th 2013.

CJ

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