Housebuilder Vistry (VTY) gained 3.6% to 943.5p as it eyed a doubling of profit in 2021 as it recovers from the pandemic.

Supporting this recovery are the measures announced in yesterday’s Budget including an extension to the stamp duty holiday and a mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers.

The company posted a 2020 adjusted pre-tax profit of £143.9 million, ahead of expectations but down from £188.2 million in 2019, but expects this to more than double to £310 million this year predicated on ‘stable market conditions’.

Reflecting the confident outlook, dividends were restarted with a 20p payment for 2020.

This is underpinned by a strong start to the current year with private sales per active site per week of 0.66 in the first eight weeks up from 0.64 a year earlier. This private sales rate hit 0.78 in the last month.

A YEAR ON FROM BIG CHANGES

Formerly Bovis Homes, the business adopted the Vistry brand as part of a bigger strategic change which saw Bovis acquire Galliford Try’s (GFRD) Linden Homes and Partnerships & Regeneration units in a deal worth £1.14 billion at the start of 2020. This helps explain the near-90% drop in its net cash position from £362 million to £38 million year-on-year.

Numis analyst Chris Millington commented: ‘Forward sales stand at £1.75 billion and represent 64% of anticipated units in housebuilding and mixed tenure Partnerships for 2021 — a very strong position at this stage of the year.’

His counterpart at Canaccord Genuity added: ‘Overall, a good set of results with strong and encouraging recent trading and outlook comments. Consensus for 2021 is unlikely to change materially today, but looks well supported.’

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Issue Date: 04 Mar 2021