Housebuilder announces £4m fall in pre-tax profit, while turnover rises slightly to £581.5m

John Watson, chief executive of Bellway, has said housebuilders need to improve the way they handle their supply chains in the present downturn.

Announcing flat results for the six months ended 31 December 2007, he said more partnering was needed in a “tough” market.

He said: “Housebuilders have never been that sophisticated in their supply-chain management.”

In January, Taylor Wimpey sparked a row with subcontractors over the imposition of discounts.

Turnover for the half-year was up slightly from £576.5m to £581.5m, while pre-tax profit fell by £4m to £96.9m.

We’re right in the teeth of it at the moment. It’s a tough market out there

John Watson, Bellway

Reservations between 1 August and 17 March were 9% down on last year but, taking social housing out of the equation, the figure was 20%. Sales conversion rates were also down 9%.

Watson said the group’s forward selling had buoyed the figures this time round but warned that completions would be down by between 5% and 10% on last year’s figure of 7,638.

He said: We’re right in the teeth of it at the moment. It’s a tough market out there.”

Watson refused to comment on statements made by other housebuilders in recent weeks including Barratt’s upbeat assessment.

Trading statements: spot the odd one out …

Taylor Wimpey “We continue to anticipate a more difficult trading environment during 2008”

Persimmon “Visitor levels have improved each week but conversion-to-sales ratios have remained challenging”

Redrow “The figures reflect a clearly challenging market”

Barratt “The new calendar year has started well. Reservation levels continue to improve and we remain optimistic that this will continue”