Bovis Homes combines Cheshire and Birmingham operations

Bovis Homes became the latest housebuilder to unveil cost-cutting measures, saying it was making 400 staff redundant and "amalgamating a number of key functions of its northern region with its central region".

The move will result in an unspecified number of job losses in the Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire office as some duties are transferred to the central region base in Coleshill, Birmingham.

The Cheadle Hulme office, which will remain open, serves Cheshire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Bovis has a second northern office in Wakefield, Yorkshire and 160 people work across the two currently.

The group is closing its eastern office in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire. In total, the losses will equate to a 40% reduction in the UK workforce from January levels.

The company said the cuts were being made against "the worst market backdrop that the group has seen for many years".

Sales were down 35% in the past six months and the average price for a house fell from £204,500 to £196,500.

The group has net debt of £94m, representing 13% gearing, and anticipates this averaging up to £120m as it sees out the year.

The board of Bovis said despite market conditions it was confident of avoiding "any material inventory provisions or write-downs at this half year."

Bovis intends to pay a reduced interim dividend of 5p a share, markedly down from the planned 20p a share.

Shares in Bovis were up 4.5p at 322p.

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