The chief executive of housebuilder Countryside has hit back at criticism of the management of the group after a poor set of interims
After Countryside posted a pre-tax profit of £4.5m for the six months to 31 March, a briefing note from analyst Teather & Greenwood said: "It requires a special kind of management approach to housebuilding to produce a 64% reduction in profits in the current trading environment."

Graham Cherry, the chief executive of Countryside, who had warned of the likely downturn in a trading statement last month, said the second six months would take the full-year pre-tax profit figure beyond last year's record of £36m.

Cherry said: "We have consistently said that this year is significantly second-half weighted."

He added that the business was retaining more land for development than in previous years, when the sale of this asset enhanced earnings.

Countryside has land holdings with planning permission for 5800 homes.

The Cherry family owns nearly 20% of Countryside and the chief executive said that this would drive him to produce strong results in coming years.

We have consistently said that this year is significantly second-half weighted

Graham Cherry, Countryside chief executive

He said: "We put ourselves under a lot of pressure.

We believe that we can add a significant amount of shareholder value."

The interim results also showed a slight decline in turnover on the first half of last year. This year it was £156m, a fall of more than £10m. Loans and overdrafts rose over the six months from £120m to £134m.

Alan Cherry, Countryside's chairman, said that results had largely been disappointing because of the weakening market for high-priced homes in the South-east, a market where it is heavily exposed. However, many of its regeneration projects will come through in the second half.