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Bellway is preparing to make land acquisitions

Bellway is preparing to snap up land as the housebuilding market approaches the bottom.

Bellway was sitting on £98.2 million of cash at the end of the six months to 31 January, and bosses are focusing on sales to generate more cash.

The company has 850 completed homes to sell and is well within its £402 million banking facilities.

Net debt stands at £178.8 million, although Bellway is aiming to trim that down to £100 million by July.

Bellway chief executive John Watson said he hoped to start buying land again soon once he was confident the bottom of the market had been hit.

He said: “If you have cash at the bottom of the market there will be lots of opportunities for land acquisitions going forward.

“The big question is when will we hit the bottom of the market so that I can start buying land and start building speculatively again.

“I would rather be buying land now than in August 2007. Prices have dropped by 25 per cent since then.

“Will they drop another 25 per cent, I very much doubt it. They might go another 5 or 10 per cent. But the bottom is getting close.”

Analysts reacted positively to Bellway’s results as it became one of the only housebuilders to pay a dividend, handing out 3 pence per share.

Panmure Gordon analysts said they believed Bellway would “exit the current slowdown in excellent shape.”