Raven Mount, a housebuilder listed on the alternative investment market, this week revealed a pre-tax loss of £6.9m for 2004, a 38% bigger loss than for 2003.

The firm, run by chairman Anton Bilton, blamed a difficult housing market in southern England for the poor financial performance.

Bilton said that its luxury housing business, Swan Hill, which it acquired in December 2003, had been hit when that end of the market had slowed significantly.

He said 2004 had been a difficult year because Swan Hill and his newly purchased private property company the Raven Group had to be integrated into the company.

Outlining the issues for the company last year, Bilton said: “The legacy strategy we inherited had created projects that were clearly not going to be profitable and which have been and continue to be time-consuming to conclude. Furthermore, the cultural and strategic changes required have placed and continue to place a necessary, though unwelcome, burden on management time away from new business and into restructuring.”

Despite the loss, the housebuilder has recommended a final dividend of 0.5p a share and said it expected to raise the level in the future.

Looking forward, Bilton was optimistic:

“Over the forthcoming years we will have a much leaner and more focused team capable of reinventing a business that should generate consistent growth in the future.”