Sales and profits rise at upmarket housebuilder Cala despite 'significant challenges'

Cala Group, the upmarket Scottish housebuilder, has reported strong half-year sales and given a bullish outlook despite “significant” supply chain challenges.

Chief executive Kevin Whitaker said the first half of 2022 had seen the group deliver unit completions, turnover and pre-tax profits ahead of expectations.

In a trading update for the six months to the end of June, Cala reported 1,527 unit completions, an increase of 3 per cent on a year earlier.

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Turnover of £688 million marked an increase of 15 per cent on the figure generated in the first six months of 2021. Profit before tax came in at just over £98m in the latest period, a 26 per cent increase on the year-before result.

The Edinburgh-based group said it was on course to deliver uplift in units, turnover and pre-tax profit for the full year in 2022. Total home completions for the year are expected to top 3,100, which would be an increase of about 7 per cent on the 2021 total of 2,904 units.

Bosses pointed to a strong market demand for Cala homes with the group now 90 per cent sold for the 2022 financial year. The private homes average selling price in the period rose to £491,000, from £454,000 in the first half of 2021.

Whitaker said: “The first half of 2022 has seen the group deliver a very strong performance, ahead of forecast units, turnover and pre-tax profits. The strength of the sales market in 2021 has continued into this financial year and we have achieved a robust forward sold position of 90 per cent private units to December 31, 2022.

“Significant industry-wide supply chain challenges continue and I’m grateful for the hard work and expertise of our talented teams to deliver for our customers against this backdrop. Market demand has continued to support both strong sales rates and pricing, offsetting the ongoing construction cost inflation the industry is experiencing.

Cala Group employs more than 1,200 people and is focused on building homes in prime locations throughout the south of England, the Midlands and Scotland.

“We are confident in our ability to deliver a performance ahead of original expectations for the financial year 2022. We are on track to achieve over 3,100 new home completions, a record for the group, alongside an increase in turnover, demonstrating good progress towards our growth strategy to reach a revenue of £1.8 billion by 2026.”

He added: “Whilst wider economic factors cast potential uncertainty and negative sentiment, the market remains favourable and we are well placed for 2023.”

Cala has eight regional businesses “with scope to deliver further scale” across its existing infrastructure.

The company started as the City of Aberdeen Land Association in 1875 and was the first Scottish company listed on the London stock market. Cala and its sister company, Legal & General Homes, are now subsidiaries of Legal & General Capital, the early-stage investment arm of Legal & General Group.

Cala Group employs more than 1,200 people and is focused on building homes in prime locations throughout the south of England, the Midlands and Scotland.

The firm said it was looking to remove fossil fuel appliances and provide operationally net zero enabled homes ahead of legislative change.

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