An increase in completions and more cost efficiencies help push half year profit at housebuilder to £180.2m

Barratt has posted a 10% increase in interim pre-tax profit ahead of completing its acquisition of Wilson Bowden.

Pre-tax profit rose to £180.2m for the six months to 31 December from £163.9m the same period in 2005.

Mark Clare
Clare: Next priority is to integrate Wilson Bowden

Barratt said the an increase in completions and selling price combined with better cost efficiencies had helped to improve margins. Completions rose 3% to 7206 while the average selling price increased 1.3% £165,000. Group turnover was up 2% to £1,194.4m.

Chief executive Mark Clare said management had identified five areas to deliver future growth. They are:

  • Increase our investment in people
  • Focus on cost control and efficiency improvement
  • Accelerate land investment, particularly strategic land
  • Participate more fully in the upper end of the housing market
  • Focus on leveraging larger, especially mixed-use, development
Clare said: “Our strong performance in the first six months gives us a platform for future growth which will be enhanced by the proposed acquisition of Wilson Bowden."

Our priority now is to complete the acquisition of Wilson Bowden and integrate the businesses, while continuing to deliver the cost efficiencies and growth that will underpin further improvements in performance.”

Shares at Barratt were down 29p to 1185p at 10.30am, but this was amid the continuing fall in shares triggered by the mini-collapse in Chinese markets yesterday.

Gallaher the cigarette maker was one of few to benefit as worried buyers pushed shares 1.5p to 1229.5p.