Miller reduced its loss before tax from £72m in 2009, to £58m in 2010

Miller Group, the housing and construction specialist, reported sales in 2010 of £666m, down 15% from 2009, when its sales were £783m. It made a loss before tax of £58m in 2010, an improvement on 2009’s loss of £72.4m.

Despite the housing market weakening in the second half of 2010, Miller Group chief executive Keith Miller is optimistic there will be a recovery in 2011. “Everything depends on the spring selling season but so far, so good.

“Visitor levels since the new year are up 18% on the same period last year” he said.

During 2010, Miller Group sold 1,915 homes, compared with 2,068 in 2009 – a reduction of 7%. Some of the reduction was expected, as the firm sold from 79 sites in 2010, compared with 100 during 2009.

While a reduction was anticipated, the housing market weakened in the second half of 2010, a trend which Keith Miller blamed on the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Miller reduced its net debt by £170m but it still stands at £500m, while there is a further £200m in debt in special purpose vehicles, primarily exposed to the commercial sector.

In an attempt to reduce volatility in its construction division, chief executive Chris Webster will be leading a push towards frameworks as he tries to “diversify the business away from an over-reliance on short term capital projects”.

This will also involve participating on projects right from the outset, as well as getting involed with operations and maintenance.