Bellway hikes divi on record profit haul

HOUSEBUILDER Bellway has cheered investors with a hike in its half-year dividend after unveiling record earnings.

The housebuilder unveiled record earnings. Picture: PA

The Newcastle-based firm, which has a strong presence north of the Border, said pre-tax profits for the six months ending 31 January jumped 53.1 per cent to £158.9 million, ahead of analysts’ forecasts.

Average selling prices grew by 3.4 per cent to £219,343 and the group’s typical price in Scotland is about £200,000. Under the new land and buildings transaction tax that comes into effect next month, that would trigger a £1,100 bill, compared with stamp duty of £1,500 down south.

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Finance director Keith Adey told The Scotsman that the “help to buy” Isa announced by Chancellor George Osborne this month was another welcome development, but he added: “I’m not convinced it will drastically change demand and supply”.

The savings product is aimed at first-time buyers struggling to scrape together a deposit. For every £200 saved, the UK government will add £50, with a cap of £3,000 on its contribution.

Following the surge in Bellway’s profits, investors will receive an interim dividend of 25p a share on 1 July – up from 16p a year earlier – and chief executive Ted Ayres said the builder was “well positioned to continue its disciplined strategy for growth, thereby creating additional value for shareholders”.