Cairn Homes said on Thursday it has agreed to buy a 1.35-acre site in Dublin from a company linked to one of its founding directors, Scottish accountant Alan McIntosh, for €14 million.
The plot adjoins existing land owned by the Dublin-listed homebuilder in Stillorgan in south Dublin. It is owned by the Emerald Fund ICAV, which is ultimately controlled by Mr McIntosh, who is a non-executive director and major shareholder in Cairn, and his wife, Cairn said.
The announcement came as Cairn posted interim results and said it sees its full-year operating profit sliding to €20 million, as the continuation of pent-up demand for houses since coronavirus restrictions eased over the summer fails to offset the impact of the shutdown of activity earlier in 2020.
The Dublin-listed housebuilder reported an operating profit of €68 million last year.
The company closed 207 new home sales and generated revenues for the first half of the year of €80.9 million, down from €192.4 million for the same period in 2019, it said in a statement on Thursday. Operating profit slipped to €5.8 million from €27.3 million.
Construction productivity has now returned to 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, the company said,
“Sales have gathered momentum over the summer months and our year-to-date closed sales and current forward sales pipeline is now 1,030 new homes as at September 9th, 2020, of which 350 are expected to close in 2021,” it said.
Cairn chief executive Michal Stanley said: "I'm proud of the resilience and extraordinary professionalism that my colleagues and all of the people working across our sites have demonstrated in spades during the first half of the year.
“The fact that Cairn was profitable in the first half, when our sites were closed for two months due to Covid-19, is testament to their flexibility and commitment to getting the job done to a continually high standard in a safe working environment.”
The company’s net debt rose to €186.8 million at the end of June from €91.2 million in December, “reflecting investment in our growth strategy”, it said.
During the period, the company spent €23.8 million on a share buyback scheme that was suspended in March as Covid-19 rattled financial markets. It also spent €20 million on land adjoining its Clonburris site in Dublin, completing a deal that was announced last November.
The company was sitting on €155.6 million of cash at the end of the reporting period, up from €56.8 million in December, it said.