Bellway builds Scots presence as profits soar

Housebuilder Bellway has signalled an expansion north of the Border after delivering a 73 per cent surge in first-half profits.

Picture: PA

The Newcastle-based firm has a strong foothold across the Central Belt, and chief executive Ted Ayres told The Scotsman that it has also enjoyed buoyant demand in Perth.

Ayres said that, if economic conditions remained favourable, the group would look at opening an office in the east of the country to complement its Scottish base in Hamilton.

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He added: “We may also look at acquiring a local builder, if there was an opportunity to bolt that on to one of our existing divisions, but our history has been organic growth.

“We’re committed to investing in Scotland, whether it decides to remain part of the UK or not. We have no plans to withdraw from the market because of an impending Yes vote.”

Bellway posted a pre-tax profit of £103.8 million for the six months to 31 January, up from £59.9m a year earlier, on turnover 39.5 per cent higher at £701.1m.

Revenues were lifted by a 25 per cent hike in sales volumes to 3,245 homes, with the average selling price rising 13.1 per cent to £212,071.

Ayres said the pace of growth might ease in the coming months as it carries out more social housing work, and the average selling price for the full year could come in at about £210,000.

Following the jump in profits, shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 16p a share on 1 July, an increase of almost 78 per cent on the previous year’s payout.