Housebuilding division of Anglo-Irish group contributes to £3.7m pre-tax profit but plant hire business makes a loss

Anglo-Irish housebuilder Abbey made a pre-tax profit of €3.6m (£3.27m) in interim results for the six months ending 31 October. The figure compares with a loss of €5.39m for the same period last year.

Abbey’s housebuilding division generated a profit of €2.54m on a turnover of €36.27m, completing 222 unit sales.

The firm said that market conditions in England had improved during the first half of the year and that it had a good level of forward sales in the second half.

However, M & J Engineers, the group’s plant hire business made a €395,000 loss on a turnover of €5.15m, which the board called “disappointing” and said that it expected further “substantial loss” in the second half.

Abbey warned that government attempts to cope with public debt in the near future would make profits and growth “hard won for the foreseeable future” and added that prospects for the group continued to be “dull.”

At the end of the period, the firm had €41.10m in cash and restricted cash with €51.79m in UK and Irish government debt.