Housebuilder reports surging growth in 2015

Ian Sutcliffe

Privately-owned housebuilder Countryside has returned to profit on the back of a 31% growth in revenue, according to full-year results announced today.

Countryside said it made a pre-tax profit of £28m for the year to September, compared to a loss of £5.4m in 2014, with revenue including joint ventures rising from £469m to £616m.

The rise in revenue reflects the purchase of upmarket hosuebuilder Millgate last year, which also contributed to the average selling price of the firm’s homes rising by 16.8% to £385k.

The firm made an operating profit of £91.2m, up 93% on the prior year, but this was impacted, as in previous years, by the cost of bank loans and interest on preference shares, which totalled £52m this year. Countryside owed £343m in bank loans and shares at September 2015.

Publication of the results follows speculation in recent weeks that its owners, private equity firm Oaktree, are considering selling the group, rather than seeking a stock market flotation, as previously anticipated by analysts.

Ian Sutcliffe, Countryside group chief executive said: “We are delighted to have continued to deliver our operational and financial objectives. We have focused on delivering strong top line and bottom line growth, while maintaining our capital discipline, to give a significant improvement in operating profit, margin and ROCE. Both our Housebuilding and Partnerships divisions have performed very well and have excellent visibility to deliver further industry leading growth.”