Bellway half-year profit up to £247m; revenue £1.1bn

Newcastle-based house builder Bellway said its profit before tax rose more than 9% to £247.6 million on revenue up almost 6% to £1.14 billion in the six months to January 31 — but warned that labour shortages continued to place upward pressure on costs throughout the construction sector.

Earnings per share rose 10.2% to 163.9p and interim dividend per share will rise 10.3% to 37.5p.

Bellway said it completed 4,462 homes, a rise of 6.5%, and ongoing customer demand was strong, resulting in its reservation rate increasing by 6.4% to 166 sales per week.

It said the number of homes sold for the full financial year is expected to rise by at least 5% and the average selling price is expected to rise to around £260,000.

The company’s forward order book as of March 12 was 18% ahead at £1.4 billion.

Bellway shares edged up to around 2,842p, giving it a current stock market value of roughly £3.5 billion.

Bellway chairman John Watson said: “Bellway’s strong operational focus and consistent execution of its growth strategy has resulted in a record number of legal completions in a first half year and another excellent financial performance. 

“The emphasis on volume growth, together with a further rise in the operating margin, has resulted in earnings increasing by over 10% to 163.9p per share, the highest achieved by the group in a first half trading period.”