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29 Jan 2019 | 07:52

Crest Nicholson meets guidance as profits fall 15% on Brexit uncertainty

House-builder Crest Nicholson's annual profits fell in-line with previous downgraded guidance even as Brexit uncertainty kept a lid on sales in London.

For the year ended 31 October, pre-tax profit fell 15% to £176.4m within previously guidance of between £170m and £190m. Reported revenue rose 9% to £1.14bn.

Gross margins for the year were lower at 22.4% compared with 26.4% a year ago, as pricing softness and additional costs in London weighed.

The house-builder delivered 3,020 new homes in 2018, up 3% from a year ago, achieving an average selling price of £393,000 on open market sales.

Slower-than-expected sales in the second half were mitigated somewhat by acceleration in bulk sales to registered providers and private rented sector investors, selecting land sales on long tail sites and adjusting build programmes, the company said.

The total dividend growth was flat at 33.0p a share. 'We have faced some challenges in London and with sales at higher price points where political and economic uncertainty has adversely impacted customer demand and this is likely to continue pending Brexit resolution,' the company said. 'Our forward sales are strong, boosted by our strategic partnerships and our new channels to market. Pricing is stable, build cost inflation has moderated and we have implemented plans to mitigate margin pressure, which will take effect progressively over the next few years.'

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