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08 Jan 2021 | 07:02

Barratt to restart dividends after strong first half

(Sharecast News) - Barratt Developments said it planned to restart dividends as the housebuilder reported strong trading in the first half.

Forward sales in the six months to the end of December rose 14.3% to 13,588 homes from a year earlier at a value of £3.2bn - up 19.4%. Barratt said if there is no material change in the market the board expects to resume dividends with its first-half results.

The FTSE 100 company said sales increased in the first half as strong underlying demand combined with pent-up interest in house purchases after the first national lockdown and the introduction of the stamp duty holiday.

Strong demand has left the company with a reduced number of homes to sell in the third quarter and Barratt is relying more than usual on construction activity in the second half.

Chief Executive David Thomas said: "Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, we are confident that our operating performance and strong financial position provide us with the resilience and flexibility to respond to the operating environment in FY21 and beyond."

Barratt increased its target for annual wholly owned completions to between 15,250 and 15,750 homes from an earlier estimate of 14,500-15,000 homes. Joint ventures are on track for about 650 homes as planned.
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