StockMarketWire.com - Homebuilder Crest Nicholson reinstated its dividend on expectations for an improvement in operating margins.

The company also reported preliminary results showing it swung to annual loss as the Covid-19 crisis weighed on performance.

For the year ended 31 October 2020, the pre-tax loss was £13.5 million, compared with a profit of £121.1 million year-on-year as revenue fell 37.6% to £677.9 million.

Adjusted pre-tax profit fell to £45.9 million, down from £121.1 million, but ahead its £35 million -to-£45 million guidance range, the company said.

The dividend was reinstatement at two and a half times cover, and would come into effect from the first-half of 2021.

Forward sales as at 15 January 2021 of 2,435 units and £564.5 million gross development value (GDV) was 55% of 2021 levels.

The company said it continued to trade in line with its expectations and would provide further financial guidance when these restrictions ease and the economic outlook was clearer.

'Looking forward, through 2021 and 2022, the next phase of Crest Nicholson's recovery will be improving operating margins to be in line with industry peers,' it added.

'Gross profit margins in 2021 will continue to be impacted by some of our more complex legacy sites ... [but] the group still expects to deliver strong profit growth and cash flow generation.'



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