Housebuilder Westbury's profit has risen by one-quarter for the six months to 31 August, after its acquisition of Prowting Homes in May.
The enlarged group's pre-tax profit, excluding exceptional costs, increased from £32.4m to £40.7m. Turnover rose from £264.8m to £345m.

Westbury's existing business performed well, with operating profit increasing from £35.7m to £42.4m on turnover up 12% to £295.8m.

Colin Cole, Westbury Homes' managing director, said demand for housing remained strong despite predictions of a market collapse. He said the Prowting integration might not end up costing the group as much as the initial estimate of £4.5m.

Prowting, which Westbury bought for £141m, contributed to the firm's results for 10 weeks. It had a pre-tax profit of £2.3m and sold 270 units over the six months to 31 August. Cole said 100 staff had been made redundant and three of its five regions closed.

Westbury expects to save £3m by integrating the two firms in the second half of the year, and £7m a year from 2003.

The group's prefabrication factory, Space4, lost £1.9m during the period and built 300 units. Cole said it would make a profit next year when production should top 2000 units.