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Company spotlight: Wilson Bowden


THE COMING interim results season should give the first real idea of how much the market for new homes has softened.

Annual figures released at the start of this year included periods of buoyancy but many firms are expected to reveal a drop in sales so far this year.

Wilson Bowden, parent of house builder David Wilson, is among them, with completions down 10 per cent to around 2,250 in the first half of 2005.

This comes despite an increase in the number of active sites and, in common with many peers, using more incentives to attract buyers - and still prices remain flat.

Profits are expected to be substantially down, with some analysts' forecasts suggesting a half-year figure of £100 million compared with £118 million a year ago.

All this comes after the firm also took a buffeting in the media over defects, yet analysts from Teather & Greenwood to Citigroup Smith Barney have issued buy notes on Wilson Bowden recently.

Others brokers like CSFB are neutral but there are few negative sentiments.So what is Wilson Bowden doing right?

Certainly, the group has a commercial development arm that is another source of profits.

Activity in this sector also softened recently but most indicators suggest this is likely to be temporary.

Avoiding major acquisitions has also helped the balance sheet and the share looks a safe bet in the unknown seas the big house builders are sailing into.