Gleeson sales and profits increase

Northern house builder Gleeson said revenue increased by 32% to £34.4m in the six months to 31 December 2013, compared to the same period a year earlier.

The boost in sales helped operating profits leap 112% to £2.6m (2012: £1.2m). The number of units sold in the six months was 258, compared to 165 in the first half of the 2012 financial year. The gross profit margin improved slightly to 25.9% (2012: 24.2%).

Gleeson said its land supply, including owned sites and sites in the process of being acquired, was in excess of 6,000 plots. Twelve planning applications were submitted in the period with the potential to deliver 1,737 plots.

Dermot Gleeson, chairman of MJ Gleeson Group, said: "As anticipated, revenues and profits for the first half of the year showed a strong increase over last year, driven by increasing demand for affordable homes amongst our core customer base in the North of England.

"Gleeson Homes has commenced 2014 with a very encouraging level of visitors, and the number of reservations secured in January and early February has been well ahead of the level secured in the same period in 2013. Strategic Land continues to enjoy a considerable level of success in securing residential planning permissions and is currently progressing the sale of a number of sites. Against this background, the board anticipates further substantial improvements in the group's trading performance and is therefore confident of delivering a result for the full year in line with expectations."

Shares in Gleeson were down nearly 5% on Monday morning to 427p. The company, which has a North West base in Bury, will pay an interim dividend of 1.1p, compared to 0.5p at the halfway stage in 2012.

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