Berkeley Group has released an Interim Management Statement covering the period from 1 November 2015 to 29 February 2016. The London housing market has remained stable over the period and Berkeley is seeing good underlying demand for its properties, with cash due on forward sales remaining in excess of £3 billion. However, reservations are approximately 4% lower than in 2014/15 due to a change in mix of product and the strength of the forward sales secured in recent years.
Berkeley remains on course to deliver £2 billion of pre-tax profit in aggregate over the three years culminating in 2017/18. For the current year, the group anticipates results will be at the top end of expectations.
A dividend of £1.00 per share was paid in January 2016 (£137 million) and Berkeley is on target to pay a further £1 per share in September 2016. This is in-line with the group's enhanced dividend return programme announced in December 2015, which aims to return £2 per share to shareholders each year until 2021. Net cash at the year-end (30 April 2016) is expected to be in the region of £100 million, allowing for further land expenditure.
Berkeley has remained selective in the land market, acquiring four sites in the period, including two conditionally contracted long-term regeneration schemes. Berkeley has also made good progress in enhancing its land holdings through three new and nine revised planning consents. The new consents are in Sevenoaks, Winchester and Kingston.
The shares opened 1% lower in early morning trading.
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