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Countryside Properties says its sites are operating at 95% of normal levels

The group reported in a trading update it expects to report an adjusted operating profit of around £54mln for the year to the end of September 2020, in line with expectations

Countryside Properties -

Countryside Properties PLC (LON:CSP), the FTSE 250-listed housebuilder, said its performance in the financial year just ended was in line with the board’s expectations.

In a trading update, the firm said that it expects to report an adjusted operating profit of around £54mln for the year to the end of September 2020 when the final numbers are totted up.

The number of house completions during the year fell to 4,053 from 5,733 the year before, reflecting the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The number of homes it built that were designated as “affordable” declined to 1,691 from 2,179 the year before, while the number of private homes delivered fell to 1,454 from 2,177 the previous year. The average selling price of private homes dipped to £364,000 from £367,000 the prior year.

The total forward order book at the end of September had risen 17% to £1.4bn from £1.2bn a year earlier.

The company, which in common with its peers has benefited from a succession of government initiatives to keep the housing market blazing, saw its net cash position improve to £98.2mln from £73.4mln 12 months earlier after it raised £250mln from a placing of shares in July.

The group said its sites are now operating at around 95% of their normal delivery level, assisted by longer opening hours and “a sharp focus on the phasing of activity on-site”.

A net reservation rate of 0.78 for the full year (2019: 0.84) was at the upper end of the group's target range of 0.6 to 0.8, despite an elevated cancellation rate due to customer uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

“We have been pleased by robust customer demand throughout the second half and our mixed tenure model continues to prove resilient, positioning us well in the current market,” Iain McPherson, the chief executive of Countryside said in the update.

Shares in Countryside were down 1.9% to 339.4p.

Quick facts: Countryside Properties

Price: 430.8 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £2.26 billion

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