Berkeley Group says profits to flatline in current year

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Berkeley Group Holdings PLC (LON:BKG)  said it expects profits to be flat this financial year to February 2022 with current trading described as volatile by the housebuilder.

Sales reservations have been robust where it has had stock, it said, but new developments and phases have been juggled until the economy opens up post-lockdown and the value of reservations for the current financial year will be around 20% lower than last year as a result.

In a trading update, the London and south-east focused builder added it expects to report an annual profit similar to the previous year in the twelve months to February 2021 just ended (2020: £504 mln) with forward sales of £1.7bn.

Net cash at the year-end will be in line with the £954mln reported at the half-year, it added. 

Market fundamentals remain strong with low interest rates, under-supply in its core markets and the enduring attraction of London and the South East, Berkeley said.

Pricing has been stable over the period and cancellation rates at normal levels said the statement with build costs steady even with materials delays and price increases in specific areas.

“Looking forward, Berkeley is on track to deliver a similar level of profitability in its next financial year and to achieve its long-term 15% pre-tax return on equity guidance.

“This underpins Berkeley’s ongoing commitment to return £280 million per annum to shareholders through either dividends or share buy-backs.”

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