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Vistry expects to pay modest dividend, with house sales up 20% over past six weeks

Private sales per outlet per week increased by 15% in the second half

Vistry Group PLC (LON:VTY) has said it expects to pay a modest final dividend for 2020 after strong second half trading that saw all debt cleared.

The housebuilder noted that due to the good second-half performance, profits for the year to end December 2020 are likely to be about £140mln or at the top of its expected range. On the basis that trading conditions remain stable, Vistry said that profits in 2021 should rise to £310mln.

“We are encouraged by the strength of the market in 2020 and the levels of demand during the second national lockdown in November, and whilst very early, we have seen no impact from this third national lockdown,” the firm said in a trading update.

Greg Fitzgerald, Vistry’s chief executive, added that private sales rate per outlet per week increased by 15% in the second half to 0.62 (H2 2019: 0.54). 

Fitzgerald said customers continued to reserve homes during the second national lockdown in November, and throughout December, with underlying sales rate up 20% in the last 6 weeks of the year compared to the prior year equivalent period.

“Pricing remained firm through the year and overall, we saw a modest increase in underlying prices,” he added.

Forward sales for 2021 already account for 55% of the total expected across the business, Vistry noted.

The group, meanwhile, has swung from borrowings of £357mln at the end of June to a net cash position of £38mln currently and reflecting this financial position dividend payments will resume again next year, the company added.

Source – Proactive Investor