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Bellway reports robust trading

9 Feb House-builder Bellway has declared itself to be “in a robust position” after a record six months for the business.

Bellway has sold 5,656 new homes in the past six months, 6.3% higher than for the same period last year (2020: 5,321).

In a trading update for the six months ended 31st January 2021, Bellway said that half-year revenue was up 12% to  around £1,715m (2020: £1,524.8m).

The company has a forward order book comprising 5,889 homes (2020: 4,598 homes), with a value of £1,625m (2020: £1,163m).

Sales rates were more pronounced at the start of the financial year (which starts 1st August for Bellway), given the pent-up demand arising from the spring national lockdown.  Reservations slowed during November as new Help-to-Buy rules came in and further lockdown measures were reintroduced.  However, sales rates have since recovered to ‘a more normalised level’, Bellway said, helped by by the effective transition to the new Help-to-Buy scheme.

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Bellway also reports that it has experienced no Brexit-related supply chain disruptions, so it has been able to increase average active outlets to 278 (2020: 274).

Chief executive Jason Honeyman said: "In the context of challenging circumstances, the group has delivered an excellent first half performance, achieving growth in volume to a record level, while maintaining high build standards and a focus on customer service…  While uncertainty remains in the wider economy, the underlying demand for good quality new homes remains robust and we have therefore made further, disciplined investment in attractive land opportunities.

“Looking forward, we have a sizeable forward order book, which provides a solid platform for the second half of the financial year and beyond.  In addition, our balance sheet is strong, with significant cash resource and this provides the group with the necessary resilience and flexibility to respond positively to the evolving economic environment."

No news at this stage, however, on the impact of cladding replacement on Bellway’s finances. Bellway has previously declared that several of its developments have been found to be non-compliant with fire safety regulations.  “The group is continuing to help building owners where it may have a legal liability and fire remedial works are required and remains engaged with third parties to seek constructive solutions to these issues,” the company said. “This is a complex area and a further update will be provided with the release of the interim results.” The interim results announcement is scheduled for Wednesday 24th March 2021.

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