Trading update says number of homes firm built last year also on the rise


Bovis Homes has said it saw a “substantial step-up” in operating margin and profits ahead of expectation in 2018.

In an update ahead of full results next month, the housebuilder also said it is on track to deliver in excess of £180m additional net cash to its balance sheet.

Bovis completed 3,759 homes in 2018, up 3% year-on-year, with 2,567 for the private sector and 1,192 affordable.

Its average selling price grew slightly to £272,000, with the group starting the year with forward sales of 2,681 units.

The build-up of net cash on Bovis’s balance sheet comes from JV agreements with housing associationss at Wellingborough and Sherford.

The group said it had a “record year of profits, slightly ahead of market consensus”.

Like Persimmon, Bovis acknowledged “Brexit uncertainties” but added: “Industry fundamentals remain strong with customer demand for new homes supported by attractive mortgage finance and government initiatives, in particular Help to Buy.”

In 2017 Bovis’s pre-tax profit dipped 26% to £114m from a £1bn turnover, a result described by Cenkos analyst Kevin Cammack as “frankly awful”.

In May 2017 the firm appointed chief executive Greg Fitzgerald after fending off takeover bids from Galliford Try, the company Fitzgerald headed up until 2015, and Redrow two months earlier.

Bovis will release its 2018 results on 28 February.