Housebuilder Barratt’s profits rose 40% in the second half of 2011 compared with the second half of 2010

A trading statement from the firm said Barratt Group expected a profit of £61m in the six months to the end of December 2011 up from £43.5m for the same period in 2010.

It said the rise was driven by greater efficiency and new building on higher margin land. The firms operating margin increased to 6.4%over the six month period.

Mark Clare, chief executive of Barratt Group, said: “This has been yet another six months of good progress for our business despite the wider economic uncertainty. We have delivered a further substantial increase in profits, brought debt in below expected levels and are starting the second half with a much stronger forward order book.”

The housebuilder said its net debt at the end of December was £550m - lower than previously forecast.

Its forward sales were boosted by 8.1% and stood at £698.1m at the end of the year. Private sales had growth of 29.8% and represented 59% of the forward sales.

The company’s revenues also rose by 8% to £950m over the period. It attributed this to a higher volume of completions and an increase in the average selling price to £200,000 from £181,000.

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