Bovis Homes sees profit ahead of market expectations

LONDON Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:23am GMT

A Bovis homes flag flies at a housing development near Bolton, northern England, July 9, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN)

A Bovis homes flag flies at a housing development near Bolton, northern England, July 9, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble (BRITAIN)

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Bovis Homes said it expects to post profit before tax for the year to the end of December ahead of market expectations, helped by a rise in its average sales price and its investment in consented land.

The housebuilder said its profit was driven by a 15 percent rise in its legal completions to 2,355 homes, a 5 percent gain in the firm's average sales price to 170,700 pounds and rise in its operating profit margin to 13.5 percent.

"We delivered significant growth in profits and returns as a result of our continued strategy for growth through investment in high quality consented and strategic land," Chief Executive David Ritchie said in a statement on Friday.

"This strategy will be further progressed in 2013, which, subject to stable market conditions, should deliver strong improvements in the Group's returns in 2013 and beyond."

"The group expects to announce profit before tax for 2012 ahead of market expectations," the company said.

Bovis and its rivals have so far enjoyed strong demand for their homes despite the UK's gloomy economic outlook, helped by government schemes to boost the market, a strategy of buying land cheaply during the recession and building in south England where house prices have stayed strong.

Barratt Developments (BDEV.L) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) said in separate statements this week that they expect to report significant increases in full-year profits.

Bovis said that at January 1, it held forward sales for 2013 delivery of 778 homes, an increase of 37 percent compared to the 568 homes at the start of 2012. It said it started 2013 with 90 active sales outlets, up from 80 at the start of 2013, and expects to grow this number further in 2013.

Shares in Bovis closed at 636.5 percent on Thursday, valuing the company at 270.8 million pounds.

(Reporting by Brenda Gohl; Editing by Paul Sandle)

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