Housebuilder reveals writedowns of £500m and a 36% drop in turnover

Barratt has posted a £679m pre-tax loss for the year ended 30 June 2009.

The result follows writedowns of £500m, the majority of which were made in the first half of the financial year.

Turnover was down by 36% from £3.55bn to £2.29bn over the year but the housebuilder cut its net debt position by £374m to £1.28bn.

The group also announced a £720.5m rights issue to repair its balance sheet and provide funds for buying land.

Mark Clare, its chief executive, said: “During the year the group has continued to focus on generating cash. Having reduced excess stock in the first half, it carefully controlled work in progress, closely matching new-build starts to sales. Site openings have been tightly managed, in particular by deferring investment on sites with significant up front infrastructure requirements.”

Total completions were down by 29% to 13,202 and the average selling price fell by 14.1% to £157,200. Forward sales were down to £464m, compared with £698m last year.

Of the total completions, private completions were 11,133, 24.8% lower than last year and social completions were 2,069, 45.3% lower than in 2008.

David Thomas, finance director, said: "It has been a very challenging year for the group. During the first half, conditions became immensely difficult as a result of the deteriorating economic outlook and the resulting contraction in the availability of mortgage finance and decline in customer confidence levels. Sales were only achievable at substantially reduced prices. In the second half, the group started to experience some pricing stability, albeit at reduced levels, and more acceptable sales rates allowing the group to achieve its cash targets.”