Chief executive said that 2006 results were in line with expectations despite interims revealing fall in profit.

Crest Nicholson's profit has fallen by almost 20% its interim results have revealed.

The development company announced pre-tax profits of £39.2m for the six months ended 30 April 2006.

The equivalent pre-tax profit in 2005 was £48.9m. However, Crest Nicholson said six-month profit in 2005 was enhanced by the high margin sales in 2004. It said that full-year 2006 results were expected to be in line with the firm's expectations.

The company said it expected a 20% increase in the number of total completions for 2006. Affordable housing completions are expected to increase by 72% to 516 units this year.

Crest chief executive Stephen Stone said: "[We] have already secured over half of the unit sales required to meet our full-year target. I am delighted with the performance of the business in my first six months as CEO and with the significant progress we are making to improve the business for the future."