UK-based builder Berkeley Group has boosted profits by a third in spite of seeing demand hurt from Brexit insecurity, increasing stamp duty and the “extraordinary attack” on buy-to-let landlords.
The company said in a statement that it would return the outstanding 10 pounds ($12.56) a share to investors, though both dividends and buying back shares, showing management buoyancy.
Meanwhile Berkeley announced on Friday morning that it had 34% increase in pretax profit for the six months ended Oct. 31, after selling almost same number of properties as in the same period a year earlier, but at a much better average price.
“The current heightened macro uncertainty has led to significant market volatility and there is a dislocation between this and both underlying market conditions and the strength of Berkeley’s operating model,” the London-based builder said.
Furthermore its pre-tax profit was more than the top-end outlook from financial services company Canaccord Genuity.
“Clearly, management also sees value in the shares…if share buy-backs are used rather than dividends,” Canaccord’s Aynsley Lammin said.
Moreover the company said cash due on advancing sales, or its order book, was GBP2.9 billion at the end of first-half fiscal 2017. It expects to generate GBP3 billion in pretax profit in the five years from May 1, 2016.
The board has elevated the interim dividend to 100 pence from 90 pence a share and said it was on track to return 200 pence a share annually over the next five years.
“During a period of political upheaval around the world, which has affected the immediate economic outlook, Berkeley has focused on its core business of regenerating run-down estates and transforming ex-industrial land,” Berkeley said.
“Berkeley has tackled the issue of Brexit and stamp duty head on,” he added.