Crest Nicholson suffers first-half loss of £51m

Aaron Morby 1 week ago
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Crest Nicholson has become the first house builder to report significant losses in the first half of the year.

Crest Nicholson chief predicts house builder will return to profit in full-year
Crest Nicholson chief predicts house builder will return to profit in full-year

The firm said a double whammy of political uncertainty in the run-up to last year’s election and sales deferrals in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic saw it suffer losses of £51m in the six months to April.

This compared to a £64m profit delivered during the same period previously.

Announcing revenue halved at £240m, the firm said it would make 130 job cuts to help deliver overhead savings of £5m a year.

Crest has also identified a further £30m of build cost savings from more disciplined design and procurement.

Peter Truscott, chief executive of Crest Nicholson, said: “Despite a difficult first-half performance we have made excellent progress implementing our updated strategy.

“We cannot ignore the risks that COVID-19 presents to the UK housing market even if we cannot predict with certainty what the impact of those risks will be.

“Therefore, we have adapted our strategy by deferring the planned opening of an additional division and targeting further reductions in overheads.

“Taking decisive action now will ensure Crest Nicholson is able to flourish in whatever market conditions may emerge in the future including if the market quickly returns to growth.”

Truscott said that business was stabilising since it resumed build activity in mid-May and reopened sales offices.

“Assuming that the lockdown continues to carefully unwind with supportive measures in place to facilitate building and selling homes, the group expects profit in the second half of the year to be significantly higher,” he added.

Truscott forecast that Crest would be back in the black by the end of the full year with pre-tax profits in the £35m-£45m range.

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