Iain McPherson, Group CEO

“Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 we have remained focused on executing our growth strategy as we progress towards our goal of delivering 10,000 homes in our Partnerships division. As more capital is allocated to Partnerships we are reorganising the business to facilitate a future separation of the Housebuilding division to optimise long-term shareholder value. Our record forward order book, growing geographical footprint and strong balance sheet, provides a significant platform for our next phase of growth.”

Our response to Covid-19

As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear, our Executive Committee met daily to make key operational and financial decisions as the situation rapidly developed.

We also held weekly Board briefings to ensure the Non-Executive Directors were kept informed of developments.

To ensure we had good two-way communication between the Executive Committee and the business, we set up a Covid-19 working group involving key employees from across the business with representatives from employee, customer and supplier-facing functions to health and safety, finance, IT and facilities. This allowed us to focus on the immediate priorities in dealing with the impact of Covid-19 on our business.

We have continued to refine our contingency plans to plan our response to a range of developments such as further local or national lockdowns. These will ensure our business remains agile and that we are well placed to adapt to changing conditions.

More about our response


Trading performance

  • Significant impact of Covid-19 lockdown on volumes, profit and margin
  • On track to deliver at the upper end of consensus adjusted operating profit expectations for Financial Year 2021
  • Good progress on executing accelerated Partnerships growth
  • Announcing new 2023 targets for Partnerships and Housebuilding on completions, operating margins and ROCE
  • Rothschild & Co now appointed to advise the Board on the separation of Housebuilding from the Group
  • Significant new framework agreements signed which underpin mixed tenure delivery
  • Record forward order book up 23% to £1,432m (2019: £1,166m) including £528m in private order book (2019: £241m)
  • Net private reservation rate of 0.78 (2019: 0.84) despite closure of sales offices during first lockdown
  • Average of 63 open sales outlets (2019: 56) up 13%
  • Achieved HBF 5-star builder status for the first time
  • Non-Executive Chairman David Howell to step down in 2021

Completions (homes)

Adjusted operating profit

Net cash

Forward order book

Key financials

View financial statements










Adjusted revenue2




Adjusted operating profit3




Adjusted operating margin4




Adjusted basic earnings per share5




Return on capital employed6




Group total forward order book








Dividend per share




Reported revenue




Reported operating (loss)/profit




Net cash7




Reported basic (loss)/earnings per share




1 Completions include the Group’s share of completions of joint ventures and associate of 224 homes (2019: 383 homes). Completions include legally completed private homes and an equivalent number of affordable and PRS homes calculated based on the contract’s stage of completion.
2 Adjusted revenue includes the Group’s share of revenue of joint ventures and associate of £96.8m (2019: £185.7m).
3 Adjusted operating profit includes the Group’s share of operating profit from joint ventures and associate of £17.2m (2019: £46.8m) and excludes non-underlying items of £(42.4)m (2019: £(17.2)m).
4   Adjusted operating margin is defined as adjusted operating profit divided by adjusted revenue.
5   Adjusted basic earnings per share is defined as adjusted profit attributable to ordinary shareholders, net of attributable taxation, divided by the weighted average number of shares in issue for the period.
6   Return on capital employed (“ROCE”) is defined as adjusted operating profit for the last 12 months divided by average of opening and closing tangible net operating asset value (“TNOAV”) for the 12-month period. TNOAV is calculated as net assets excluding net cash or debt less intangible assets net of deferred tax.
7   Net cash is defined as unrestricted cash less bank borrowings. Unamortised debt arrangement fees and lease obligations are not included in net cash

Mike Scott, Group CFO

“The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly reduced delivery volumes in 2020, with margins eroded by programme elongation and costs of inefficiency and social distancing. Our equity placing has ensured that the business is well positioned to accelerate growth in Partnerships."

Financing, current trading and outlook

We have started the new financial year in a strong position to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty. We have a robust balance sheet and excellent visibility of future work through our record order book across all tenures. We are 70% forward sold for 2021 and due to our strong forward sales position, our net reservation rate for the first nine weeks of the year is lower than the same period last year. As a result, subject to no material changes in market conditions, we are on track to deliver at the upper end of consensus operating profit expectations for 2021. After two years in which our weighting of delivery was skewed heavily to Q4, we expect to return towards a more balanced profile this year. 

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