Revised strategy equals “good progress” for Crest

Crest Nicholson says it has made good progress with its revised strategy during its half year, achieving stable weekly sales.

Issuing an update ahead of its half year results to be announced on June 11, the housebuilder said that during the six months to April 30 2019, it had progressed well with its new strategy of halting growth “during this period of heightened uncertainty”, prioritising cashflow and dividends and unlocking value in its land portfolio through partnerships and joint venture opportunities.

Sales per outlet per week were “resilient”, maintaining the same level as HY 18 at 0.78. At the same time, residential sales achieved to date and forward sold for FY 2019 were 4% down on the equivalent period last year, at £715 million.

Meanwhile, Crest’s total sales achieved and forward sold turnover for the full year – including commercial and land sales/joint ventures – climbed 4.2%, “demonstrating the benefits of our revised strategy,” it said.

On developing a number of larger sites through partnerships and joint ventures as part of its strategy, Crest pointed to its completion of a new £229 million joint venture with the Sovereign Housing Group to deliver around 910 homes at Harry Stoke, Bristol, over future years.

The firm entered its second half with “increased site coverage”, operating from an average of 58 outlets, an 11.5% improvement on HY 18.

With ongoing political instability, Crest said that the outlook for demand in the short term remained uncertain. But it added that its earnings guidance and outlook for the full year were unchanged.

Chris Tinker, Crest’s interim ceo, said: “The group has made good progress in implementing its strategy in the first half of the year. Improved forward sales in residential, commercial and land, and increased outlet breadth, provide a good platform as we enter into the second half of 2019.”