StockMarketWire.com - Abbey said Wednesday annual pre-tax profit declined 7.7% despite selling more homes as margins fell.

For the 12 months to 30 April, pre-tax profit fell 7.7% to €58.6m from €63.5m the previous year, while operating profits fell to €58.5m from €60.8m.

The company sold 606 homes - UK 524, Ireland 75 and CZK 7 - generating €197.8m turnover, and an operating profit of €54.3m.

Margins were lower than last year, and are expected to continue to decline from their recent 'elevated' levels, the company said.

Abbey identified production as a 'high priority,' adding that tight markets for labour and materials were a 'significant' constraint.

The UK land bank was maintained in excess of 2,000 plots providing a firm foundation for a rise in output this year, the company added.

A dividend of 10 cents per share was proposed.

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