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28 Feb 2019 | 07:22

Bovis Homes hikes dividend as profits swell to record

Housebuilder Bovis Homes hikes dividend Thursday after generating record pre-tax profits on higher margins and completions.

For the 12 months to 31 December (check), profit before tax rose 47.4% to £168.1m and housing revenue increased 3% to £1.03bn from a year earlier.

Bovis' house-building volumes came in at 3,759 up 3% from 3,645 the previous year.

The homebuilders' average selling price of private homes increased 1% to £337,400, but the overall average sales price remained broadly flat at £273,200, compared with £272,400 a year earlier. 'Housing gross margin was 21.9% in 2018, strongly ahead of the 18.3% achieved in 2017 driven by the increasing embedded margin in our land bank, reduced customer care costs and our ongoing operational improvements including the initial impacts from our margin initiatives,' Bovis said. The company proposed a final dividend of 38.0p a share, up from 32.5p a share last year, taking the total dividend to 57p a share, up 20% from 47.5p. Including the special dividend paid in November, total dividends more than doubled to 102p per share from a year earlier. The year started with 'strong' sales generated in the first eight weeks of the year with a rate of 0.58 sales per site per week, an increase of 15.7% on the prior year, the company said. Given the current increased level of uncertainty surrounding the broader UK economy, Bovis said it was 'encouraged by the positive start to the year and are pleased to report our forward sales represent 48% of consensus total 2019 revenues for the group.'

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