Berkeley reinstates dividend as profits jump 41%

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INVESTORS in housebuilder Berkeley are in line for their first dividend in five years after it reported a 41 per cent jump in half-year profits.

The group, which is focused on the south of England, posted a pre-tax profit of £142.2 million for the six months to 31 October, up from £101.1m for the same period last year, on revenues 69.4 per cent higher at £686m.

A total of 1,927 new homes were sold during the period, with the average selling price soaring from £254,000 a year ago to £335,000

Managing director Rob Perrins said: “The shortage of supply of good quality homes in Berkeley’s chosen market continues to support the case for investment in the London housing market.”

Berkeley announced an interim dividend of 15p per share, payable in April, as part of its plans to return £568m in cash to shareholders by September 2015.

Chairman Tony Pidgley, who co-founded the company in 1976, said: “This dividend marks the group’s first distribution to shareholders since the last capital return of £2 per share in January 2008, and delivers a tangible return for shareholders who have invested some £500m of retained equity in the business since that time to support growth.”