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Bovis completes fewer homes

UNITED Kingdom-based Bovis Homes Group Plc yesterday said it completed 11 percent fewer homes in the first half of this year compared with the same period a year ago, with prices of private homes down 19 percent.

However, the home builder said its cash position strengthened, reducing debt to 14 million pounds (US$22.8 million) at the end of June, down from 109 million pounds at the end of last year.

The group reported 901 net private reservations for homes in the first half, up 92 percent, but a fall in orders for public housing left total reservations at 939, up from 666 in the year-ago period.

Sale prices of private homes in the first half averaged 160,400 pounds, compared with 196,700 pounds in the first half of 2008 and 164,700 pounds in the second half of last year.

"The key good news for the business is its cash performance, with debt at the end of the half year at 14 million pounds sub 3 percent gearing," said Panmure Gordon analysts Rachael Waring and Mark Hughes.

"The big positive here is that we believe a cash position provides the business with extra capacity to go back into the land market when it feels it is right to do so," they added.

Like other major builders which reported on trading this week, Bovis complained that lack of mortgage financing was holding back a recovery.

"The short-term outlook for the housing market is a continuation of low levels of activity constrained by ongoing illiquidity in the mortgage market," the company said.


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