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Builder Berkeley enjoys first-half profits leap

The London-focused developer said it sold 21 percent more homes in the period

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Builder and developer Berkeley Group reported a 64 percent jump in first-half profit on Friday thanks to strong sales and said it was confident on meeting targets.

The London-focused builder said it had sold more homes profits and were boosted by a one-off disposal.

Pre-tax profit for the six months to 31 October reached £101.1 million, helped by a one-off boost of £30.7 million from selling a stake in an accommodation project, and compared to the £61.6 million it made in the same period last year.

Berkeley, renowned for its savvy London land buys, said its operating profit excluding the stake sale rose 30 percent to £76.4 million after it sold 21 percent more homes in the period.

"Looking forward, the further increase in forward sales and the strong balance sheet, which remains ungeared, means Berkeley is increasingly well positioned to capitalise on the current market conditions," Chairman Tony Pidgley said in a statement on Friday.

The FTSE250 company said it was confident on its ability to deliver a new dividend strategy announced in June under which it plans to return 1.7 billion pounds in cash to shareholders over the next 10 years.

It added, however, that the first pay-out was unlikely to come earlier than the 2015 target due to ongoing investment in new projects.

Shares in Berkeley Group closed at 1,267 pence on Thursday, valuing the company at £1.6 billion.


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Builder Berkeley enjoys first-half profits leap
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