Budget 2013: Builders look ahead after boost

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FOLLOWING last week’s Budget day boost for builders, in which the Chancellor outlined a raft of initiatives to breathe new life into the housing market, investors will be keen to see how Bellway is faring.

The Newcastle-based firm, which delivered a 57 per cent jump in profits to £105.3 million last year, will unveil its first-half results tomorrow, just days after George Osborne announced more schemes to help people get on the housing ladder, including interest-free loans and mortgage guarantees.

Bellway – the UK’s fourth-largest builder – has already revealed that average selling prices rose 2.3 per cent to £187,000 during the six months to 31 January.

On a busy day for results, tomorrow will also see annual results from retail group Kingfisher – owner of the B&Q and Screwfix chains – and plumbing merchant Wolseley.

Kingfisher’s figures are expected to show a fall in profits as last year’s record rainfall dampened demand in the DIY market, with analysts forecasting an 11 per cent decline to £715m. Sliding profits at B&Q contributed to a 
17 per cent drop in group half-year profits to £364m.

Although Wolseley has been affected by tough UK and European markets, the firm has benefited from a robust performance in the United States, where it trades as Build.com and Ferguson, with sales rising 7.1 per cent in the first quarter. That compared with flat sales in the UK and a 17.1 per cent slump in France, where the group is reviewing its operations.

Panmure Gordon analyst Andy Brown has pencilled in a 13 per cent leap in underlying profits to £340m for the first half.

Thomson and First Choice holiday operator Tui Travel will confirm whether the recent package holiday comeback has continued when it delivers a trading update on Wednesday.

It had already sold more than a third of its UK summer holidays by the end of its first quarter, with bookings 
9 per cent ahead of last year as more customers choose the certainty of all-inclusive deals and look to avoid a repeat of last year’s wash-out summer.

This saw Tui raise expectations, saying full-year underlying profit growth would be towards the top end of its guidance of 7 to 10 per cent.