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Crest Nicholson maintains full-year guidance after 'resilient' first-half

“Improved forward sales in residential, commercial and land, and increased outlet breadth, provide a good platform as we enter into the second half of 2019," said chief executive Chris Tinker.

Crest Nicholson
Low interest rates and Help to Buy continue to prop up the housing market

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson Holdings PLC (LON:CRST) maintained its full-year guidance for earnings as sales proved “resilient” against the impact of Brexit uncertainty in the first half.

Sales per outlet week (SPOW) was 0.78 in the half year to April 30, the same rate as a year ago.

READ: Crest Nicholson surges as it nabs Galliford Try's chief executive officer

The total sales value achieved to date and forward sales for 2019, including land and commercial, rose by 4.2% year-on-year to £792mln despite a decline in residential sales.

Forward sales on residential properties totalled £500.5mln, up 11% on the year-ago period.

The group has entered the second half with an average of 58 outlets, 11.5% higher than last year.

Net debt was cut to £68.2mln in the first half from £78.5mln last year.

The firm expects to be cash positive by the end of the year after paying ordinary dividends of 33p per share.

Build cost inflation for the year is expected to be 3-4%.

Crest Nicholson said strong employment levels, low interest rates, the government’s Help to Buy Scheme and increased grant funding for housebuilders, continued to support the housing market during the period.

However, it noted that the short-term outlook remains uncertain as the government continues to thrash out a plan for the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Nevertheless, the company left its earnings and dividend guidance for the full year unchanged.

"The group has made good progress in implementing its strategy in the first half of the year,” said chief executive Chris Tinker.

“Improved forward sales in residential, commercial and land, and increased outlet breadth, provide a good platform as we enter into the second half of 2019.”

Shares were up 0.8% to 369p in morning trading.

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