Vistry sees profits at top end, aims to restart dividends next year

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Vistry Group PLC (LON:VTY) said strong demand for its new houses means it is on track to deliver underlying profit at the top end of expectations this year and return to paying dividends next year as profits more than double.

Profit before tax, exceptional items and amortisation for 2020 are looking like they will come in towards the £140m, the FTSE 250 company said, and is confident of increasing this to around £310mln next year.

READ: Vistry unveils significant contract wins for partnerships business

The housebuilding and social housing partnerships group said it had achieved a private sales rate of 0.67 per outlet per week since the start of July, compared to 0.58 a year ago, with demand remaining robust despite the new coronavirus lockdown in England.

Pricing was said to have been firm and the group has fully sold its forecast total completions for the year, with forward sales of 6,726 up from 5,729 at the end of June.

Total forward sales, including affordable housing and joint ventures and partnerships, was £2.7bn, up from £2.5bn at the half year.

“Our priority is reducing the group’s leverage while delivering on our medium-term targets,” said chief executive Greg Fitzgerald.

“Cash generation has been strong, and we now expect our FY20 year-end net debt to be significantly lower than our previous expectations.

“Given this robust business performance and outlook, the board is pleased to confirm its intention to resume dividends in FY21 including an interim dividend next November, earlier than previously anticipated.”

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