Bellway ‘positive’ on site activity and sales

The housebuilder, which has multiple schemes in construction across the North West, said its healthy balance sheet and “substantial” order book would help it ride out the period of disruption caused by Covid-19.

Construction activity resumed on around 230 Bellway sites across the country on 4 May and sales offices reopened on 1 June, with social distancing and other safety measures in place, Bellway said in a trading update today.

The company’s order book comprised 6,038 homes with a total value of £1.6m as of 2 June, roughly flat from the same period in 2019.

The balance sheet is strong, Bellway added, with net bank debt standing at £157m as of 31 May and committed bank facilities of £545m.

“The forward sales position is substantial,” the trading update said. “This, together with Bellway’s responsible site re-opening programme, should enable the group to preserve its strong liquidity position in the months ahead.”

Over the coming weeks, the introduction of further social distancing working practices will enable more than one tradesperson to work in a home at the same time, albeit on separate floors.

This is expected to increase the construction rate and enable Bellway to slowly increase the number of completions through the late summer and autumn months, the company said.

The total amount payable to suppliers and subcontractors stood at around £65m as of 31 May, with the majority of this expected to be paid by the end of June.

Still, Bellway said it continues to suspend financial guidance given the ongoing market uncertainty, and new land buying activity – although the board continues to assess individual deals on a case-by-case basis.

“Our actions to date, together with our sizeable forward order book and strong, asset backed balance sheet should ensure that Bellway remains well positioned to emerge positively from this period of uncertainty,” the statement said.

The company is scheduled to start its latest scheme, the construction of 124 homes in Prestwich, north Manchester, this summer.

It also won planning approval in March to build 127 homes across 15 acres of land off Arrowe Brook Road, close to at Wirral Business Park near Upton.


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