Chief exec says downturn will propel firm into top tier of housebuilders, as 500 staff put onto four-day week
Galliford Try chief executive Greg Fitzgerald has said that the hybrid housebuilder/contractor will become a top-five housebuilder within two years as a result of the downturn.
Speaking after a trading update this morning, he said the company would move up from its position as the eighth-largest housebuilder as its rivals struggled to build at the same volume due to their high debt.
Fitzgerald said: “We’ll be much further up the scale in two years. How many other housebuilders are out there at the moment sitting on cash?”
In the trading update, the firm announed that its housing arm has introduced a four-day working week in a bid to cut costs in “an extremely difficult market”.
The contractor said that housing completions in 2008 were down 18% to 964 units and that the average selling price had fallen from £203,000 to £171,000.
Although the company said there was some re-emergence of interest in the investor market in December, it said sales reserved, contracted or completed at 31 December were down 40% to £281m, compared with £473m the previous year.
It said that for the financial year to 30 June 2009 it had secured 75% of projected sales compared to 65% at this point last year.
The company said that it was countering the affects of the deteriorating economy by focusing on construction markets in the public sector.
It said that 91% of its £1.7bn order book at 31 December was in the public sector and that it has secured 93% of anticipated revenues for the financial year to 30 June 2009.
Galliford Try confirmed that there will be a writedown of £50m in its half-year results.