Bullish Bellway eyes second Scottish unit

Housebuilder Bellway is eyeing a possible relaunch of an east of Scotland division after continuing its post-crash recovery with record interim figures.

Bellway chief executive Ted Ayres. Picture: Contributed

The group, which is headquartered in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and builds across the UK, consolidated its Scottish operations into a single division operating out of Hamilton in the wake of the financial crisis.

Unveiling solid results for the six months to the end of January, chief executive Ted Ayres said the firm’s Scottish arm had enjoyed a “very strong” half year with the extension of the Help to Buy scheme also providing “a bit more visibility”. Bellway currently builds about 600 units pre annum north of the Border.

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Ayres told The Scotsman: “We have grown quite a bit in Scotland and the next consideration is whether we should open a second division in Scotland which we had pre-crash.”

He said the group, which has been rebalancing its product mix towards houses rather than flats, was about to embark on a small apartment scheme in Edinburgh. News of the Scottish progress came as the firm posted a profit before tax of £226.6 million, up 42.6 per cent on a year earlier.

Revenues rose by 30.5 per cent to just under £1.1 billion and shareholders are set for an interim dividend payout of 34p per share, up from 25p.

There was a 17.3 per cent hike in the average selling price of a Bellway property, to £257,280, though the sharp rise was skewed by a number of high-value London apartments. For the full year, the growth in the average selling price is expected to be about 10 per cent.