Bellway completions down 31% but orders rise to £1.7bn

Shares of Newcastle-based house building giant Bellway fell about 3% on Tuesday after it published a trading update for the year ended July 31, 2020.

Bellway said housing completions fell 31% to 7,522 “as a result of temporary groupwide site closures during the ‘lockdown’ period.”

However Bellway said it has a strong forward order book comprising 6,588 homes (2019 – 4,878 homes) with a value of £1.7 billion (2019 – £1.2 billion).

Bellway CEO Jason Honeyman said: “Our attention now turns to the trading year ahead. 

“Whilst the economic outlook is uncertain, sales demand is encouraging, and the group has built a strong forward sales position.”

Analysts at Peel Hunt wrote: “Bellway’s top line is likely to come in ahead of our estimate, but underutilisation of sites will result in significant margin pressure and lower profitability.

“Build rates have increased to 80% of pre-Covid levels, at the lower end of the peer group, and reserved/exchange homes remain the focus.

“The balance sheet remains in good shape, with a £1m net cash position, land creditors of £345m and bank facilities of £545m.”