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Abbey expects to equal or beat first-half 2019 turnover and profit

Dublin-listed home builder says trading over summer was positive

Summer trading was ‘good’, says Abbey. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Dublin-listed home builder Abbey is on track to match or better last year’s first-half turnover and profit, the company said on Friday.

In a trading update, Abbey said trading over the summer had been “good”, with sales in southern England “buoyed by the cut in stamp duty” together with the UK government’s help-to-buy programme.

“In Ireland sales activity is running ahead of last year, and interest in our future developments has been stimulated by the Government’s support for first-time buyers,” it said.

“For the year as a whole, the outlook is less clear, with the significant restriction of the UK help-to-buy programme together with the increase to stamp duty planned for April next year particular sources of uncertainty. Overall the group is hoping for a satisfactory full-year outcome.”

Publishing its annual report in August, the group said it was trading profitably in the current year with higher sales completion in Ireland and the Czech Republic hopefully ensuring that overall sales volumes “at least exceed” 2019.

It added that the UK performance would depend on confidence and employment levels with the curtailing of the help-to-buy scheme there not helping its prospects.

“Covid-19 has undoubtedly been a severe blow to the economy and to our business,” it said. “The longer term is unclear. Overall, the group is fortunate enough to be in a healthy financial position and we hope with caution to add to our land bank in the months ahead.”

Tax charge

In its results for the year ended April 30th, 2020, Abbey said its profit for the year amounted to €33 million before tax against a profit of €53 million in the previous year.

After a tax charge of €6.5 million, the group made a profit of €26.5 million, reflecting earnings per share of 125.62 cents. Group operating profits during the year were €32.7 million, compared with €53 million the previous year.

The group’s house-building operations completed 490 sales, including 405 in the UK, 57 in Ireland, and 28 in the Czech Republic, with a turnover of €162.7 million generating an operating profit of €31.3 million.

At year end the group owned and controlled land allocated for housing development and the supply of 2,947 plots. Rental income during the year was €1.1 million. A fair value adjustment loss of €100,000 was recorded in the year.

The group held €70.8 million in cash at the end of the financial year. On the balance sheet date, commitments outstanding on land were €2.5 million.

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