Positive start increases Vistry’s profit expectations

Vistry Group has had a “very positive start to the year”, with higher than expected Housebuilding completions helping to drive a pre-tax profit for FY 2021 ahead of original expectations.

Giving an update for the period from January 1 2021 to date, the housebuilder said that its private sales rate per site per week during the period was 0.75, 70% up on the equivalent rate for 2020 and a 21% lift on 2019 pro-forma.

It added that its Housebuilding division was set to deliver around 6,500 completions for its year end (December 31 2021) – against 2020’s 4,652 – up on its previous expectations. The division’s adjusted gross margin is also set to improve to around 22%.

Vistry had previously anticipated FY 2021’s adjusted pre-tax profit to be “at least” £310 million. It now expects this to be around £325 million.

The Partnerships business also expects to significantly grow its mixed tenure completions at a higher margin for 2021. Vistry said the division was on track to achieve its FY 2022 goals of £1 billion revenue and an adjusted operating margin of “10% plus”.

The group’s forward sales position currently stands at £2.7 billion. Its Housebuilding forward sales total £1,490 million with Partnerships’ mixed tenure forward sales totalling £448 million.

It has secured 83% of its forecast FY21 total Housebuilding units and Partnership mixed tenure units.

As previously announced, Vistry has resumed dividend payments and plans to pay a 2020 final ordinary dividend of 20p per share on May 21.

Greg Fitzgerald, Vistry’s ceo, said: “It has been a very positive start to the year with strong demand across all areas of our business and our private sales rate increasing to 0.75. As we approach the end of our first half, we anticipate results for the six months will be well ahead of our previous expectations.

“The business is making excellent progress towards its targets of increasing revenues from £728 million last year to £1 billion in FY22 accompanied by operating margin improvement to at least 10%.

“Delivering high quality homes and excellent customer service remains a top priority for the group. We are pleased to have maintained our 5-star HBF Customer satisfaction rating and continue to make progress, with the group now achieving scores ahead of 2020 levels.”