Berkeley Group’s shareholders received a £600m cash return as the housebuilder produced solid results for the year ending 30 April.
Turnover hit £918m and pre-tax profit rose 13.9% to £188m. It said its move last November from half to full ownership of St James Homes had contributed to the £23m increase.
As a result, Berkeley said it would bring forward the last two parts of its £1.4bn capital repayment scheme by a year. Investors will receive a £2 per share return in January and a further £3 per share in 2010. Investors have pocketed £800m since the scheme was announced in 2004.
The group’s land holdings hit 30,128 plots, up from 23,819 the previous financial year. It also achieved forward sales of £936m, an 18% increase on 2006.
Tony Pidgley, Berkeley’s managing director, said: “We’ve produced another set of balanced results, generating free cash flow and growing our unrivalled landbank and forward sales position, instead of concentrating solely on the income statement.”
The group warned that affordability concerns, rising interest rates and inflationary pressures could dampen demand.
Roger Lewis announced his retirement as chairman after eight years. He will be replaced by Victoria Mitchell, currently a non-executive director of the company.