Housebuilder Barratt Slumps 6%

Barratt Developments  (LSE: BDEV.L  ) -- the company behind the Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes, and Ward Homes homebuilding brands and the commercial property business Wilson Bowden Developments -- is currently down over 6%, despite announcing a 159% jump in pre-tax profits in its annual results for the year ending June 30, 2012, released this morning.

Group revenues increased by 14.1% for the full year, at £2,323.4 million, and operating margin was up to 8.2%, compared with 6.6% for the year ending June 30, 2011.

Mark Clare, group chief executive, commented:

With a rapidly improving performance across the Group we have made substantial progress in achieving our objectives of rebuilding profitability and reducing overall indebtedness.

In the year, we have achieved a 14.1% increase in revenues, a 1.6% increase in operating margins before operating exceptional costs, a 159.3% increase in pre-exceptional pre-tax profits and we have almost halved our net debt. Despite continued uncertainty surrounding the wider U.K. market and constrained levels of mortgage finance, we expect to make further good progress in 2012/13 with more than half of our completions forecast to be delivered from recently acquired higher margin land.

Barratt's share price has enjoyed fitful movement over the past few years -- almost 360% up on its nadir of July 2008, but barely changed from what it was in February of that year. And progress will have to exceptional for it to recover to anything like the levels of 2007, from which it's currently down just over 80%. Given the drop this morning, it doesn't seem like the market is convinced about Barratt's immediate prospects.

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Jon Wallis doesn't own shares in Barratt Developments. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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