Housebuilder Crest Nicholson (CRST) rises 2.3% to 360.2p after posting its first full-year results since last year's return to the stockmarket.

The Chertsey-based group saw turnover rise 29% to £525.7 million while profit before tax surged 40% to £86.8 million in the 12 months to 31 October 2013.

Joint house broker Numis reckons Crest will achieved its 2015/16 target of 2,500 units this year. 'In our view, Crest is in an enviable position with 7.5 years supply of land biased to the better performing regions in the South of England,' says the broker. 'This should support outlet growth in future years and give Crest the ability to be cautious with respect to open market land purchases - which are becoming more competitive in the South.'

The financial results were encouraging for the £885.5 million cap across all the measures that matter in the housebuilding sector.

Volumes in the period rose 15% to 2,172 units while the average sales price rose 13% to £233,000. This is being driven by a increased mix of private housing.

The earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margin rose 50 basis points to 18.5%. 'The rise in the EBIT margin disguises 50 basis point decline in the gross margin and a 100 basis point improvement in overhead recovery,' comments Numis.

Crest finished the year with net cash of £42.5 million compared to the previous year's net debt of £30.3 million.

Forward sales at mid-January printed at £329.5 million compared to the previous year's £218.7 million; 51% ahead of prior year with 51% of this year's forecast secured.

Numis increases its price target to 395p.

Issue Date: 28 Jan 2014