Top three housebuilder sees profit rise just 3% after problems getting on site.
Top three housebuilder Beazer this week logged a 3% rise in pre-tax profit for the year to 30 June 1999 after a disappointing first-half performance.

Chief executive John Low said he had been frustrated by delays in getting sites on-stream, but added that the group was well positioned to improve results this year.

Beazer Group turned in an overall pre-tax profit of £81.6m, and turnover grew 11% to £702m, fuelled by a 15% increase in average selling price to £93 300.

Low put this price rise down to inflation, improvements in specifications and a 7% increase in the size of its homes to just under 1000 ft2. But he said he was disappointed that completions fell 3% to 7509.

Chairman Victor Benjamin said: "We are in a better position with regard to outlets and planning than last year, and with continuing strong demand, we are well placed to improve on this year's results."

The average price in the Beazer Homes division, the main part of the group, was up 11% to £90 200, and Low predicted an average increase of 5% for the coming year. Completions fell 7% to 5940.

Upmarket brand Charles Church lifted completions 22% to 389 and pushed up its average price 43% to £281 200.

We look forward to the improvement of UK planning

Victor Benjamin, Beazer

Low now wants the division to increase its presence in London and the South coast in an attempt to raise completions 12-15% and boost the average price to £290 000.

Social housing arm Beazer Partnership Homes increased completions 12% to 1180; average unit price rose 9% to £46 900.

Benjamin said: "We look forward to seeing details of the government's programme to bring a much-needed improvement to the UK planning system."

He said Labour's efforts to establish a balance between greenfield and brownfield development, the Rogers report's recommendations and the new Regional Development Agencies had all set the scene for change.

"These measures will provide both challenges and opportunities for our industry which the group is ready to meet," Benjamin said.