Group chairman John Robinson said all Wimpey Homes’ regional arms had been investigated and he was confident that the problem was an isolated incident.
“The management concerned have been dismissed and procedures tightened further,” he said.
Wimpey Homes’ operating profit before the £4m loss fell £1.1m to £12.3m. Group chief executive Dennis Brant said Wimpey Homes would continue its drive to improve efficiency and hit double-figure margins within two years.
The group posted pre-tax profit of £27.9m for the six months to 30 June 1999, compared with £25m for the same period last year. Turnover increased from £587m to £622m.
Luxury homes arm McLean Homes’ operating profit was down £400 000 at £19.3m. But US business Morrison Homes more than doubled operating profit from £3.2m to £7.2m.
George Wimpey completed 6257 homes worldwide in the first half of the year, an increase of 3.5% on the same period last year.
In the UK, 5257 homes were completed in the first half of the year; 2% more than in the first six months of 1998.
UK margins for housing fell in the first half of the year. The company attributed this drop to increasing land prices, but claimed that building cost reductions would improve margins in the second half.
Chief executive Peter Young said the UK market had been flat but predicted an improved second half. He said the group is investigating a large number of acquisitions.