Housebuilder reports first-half loss of £46.2m and reveals it has shed 50% of its staff in a year

Housebuilder Redrow revealed a pre-tax loss of £46.2m in its first-half results and said it had cut staff by 50% since January last year.

The Welsh firm blamed a sharp drop in the availability of mortgage finance for the loss in the six months to December 2008, which came after £25m worth of exceptional items, including restructuring costs. The firm made a £35.8m profit in the same period last year.

Turnover was £149.5m, down 58% from £353.1m for the same period in 2007, reflecting a 51% fall in the number of legal completions to 1,042 homes and a 14% drop in the average selling price to £140,500.

Mortgage approvals for house purchases averaged around 31,000 per month over the half-year, a 67% fall on the same period in 2007, Redrow said.

The group said its cost reduction plan was in progress, with around £40m annualised savings targeted in administration, sales and site related costs.

Redrow chairman Alan Bowkett said: “Redrow responded early to the unprecedented market conditions, taking swift and decisive action within the business. We have implemented a major cost reduction programme which is delivering significant savings and we are executing tight control of our cash flows. In both these areas, we are ahead of our plan.

“Our strategy in the medium term remains focused on the strength of our forward land bank and the delivery of a differentiated product to our customers. This will best position the company to be able to deliver value for shareholders once market conditions improve.”