LONDON House builder Barratt (BDEV.L) said it expects a "significant" improvement in profits for the full year 2012-2013 after its profit before tax more than doubled in the first six months to December.
Barratt, the UK's largest house builder by market volume, said on Wednesday it expects pre-tax profit over the half year period to rise by 108 percent to 45 million pounds and posted group revenues of 950 million pounds, in line with the prior year.
The company completed 5,085 units over the period and secured private forward sales, excluding joint ventures, of 536.5 million pounds by the end of December, up 35.5 percent over the prior year, it said.
"This has been a good first half performance," Group Chief Executive Mark Clare said. "In addition, we have been investing for the future, successfully securing higher margin land both in the South-East and across the rest of the country that will drive further profit growth.
"We are on track to deliver around half of our full year completions from higher margin land, and combined with our continued focus on driving efficiency across the group, we expect to deliver a significant improvement in profitability for the full year 2013."
Barratt said it had agreed terms on 453 million pounds worth of new land in the first half, equating to 9,320 plots on 67 sites, and that it expects to agree terms on 15,000 plots for the full year.
It also said that it had bought two sites in London with a development value of 400 million pounds which would provide more than 1,000 new homes for the capital.
Barratt and its rivals such as Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) and Persimmon (PSN.L) have in the past year sought to beat a sluggish market by buying land cheaply during the recession, building more lucrative family homes rather than flats and focusing on areas where prices have stayed strong such as London and south England.
Shares in Barratt, which have more than doubled in price over the past year, closed at 226.5 pence on Tuesday, valuing the company at 2.2 billion pounds.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Kate Holton)