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Bellway makes £48.6m half year loss

Bellway today announced a pre-tax loss of £48.6 million for the six months to 31 January after £66.3 million in write downs.

Without the writedowns Bellway would have reported a £17.7 million profit. Bellway reported a £96.9 million profit for the same period a year earlier .

The Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based house builder’s revenue fell to £320.2 million from £581.5 million in the previous year.

Home sales dropped to 2,014 at an average price of £156,100 compared with 3,252 at £174,800 in the prior year.

Bellway bosses said they were currently ahead of the game on the planned debt reduction programme having cut net bank borrowings by £40 million from July 2008.

Debt at the end of January stood at £178.8 million with the house builder having £402 million of committed bank debt facilities.

Some £20 million of that is due for renewal in May together with £2 million repayable at the end of May with the remaining facilities extending to 2015.

But like its peers that have reported results already this season, Bellway said the new year had seen an encouraging start.

Chairman Howard Dawe said: “In the first eleven weeks of this calendar year, visitor and subsequent reservation rates have improved upon those seen in the last five months of 2008.

“Until the group experiences consistent and prolonged signs of improvement in customer confidence, combined with a change in lending and valuing criteria, the board will continue its current programme of reducing land expenditure and work in progress, but not to the detriment of any opportunities that may present themselves.

“We will continue to focus on the early sale of stock properties, currently standing at 850 homes, to enhance the cash position.”