Property developer Henry Boot PLC (LON:BOOT) has hinted it could look at upgrading its guidance if the momentum built up in the first half of this year continues.
A particularly strong performance from its Hallam Land Management division, which buys up plots of land, gets planning permission and then either sells or develops them, helped pre-tax profits climb 16% to £26.2mln in the six months to June 30.
Its northern housebuilding arm Stonebridge Homes also enjoyed a solid first half. The increased profitability helped Henry Boot to slash its net debt to £26.0mln from £62.2mln a year earlier. The Sheffield-based company also hiked its dividend by 14% to 3.2p (H1 17: 2.8p).
“We are very pleased to report another impressive performance in the first half of 2018, achieving improved profit, earnings per share, net asset value and dividends, while significantly reducing debt, compared to a year ago,” said chief executive John Sutcliffe.
Optimism over outlook
“So long as market conditions remain stable as we transit through the political and economic uncertainties, we look to the future with confidence.”
Sutcliffe added that the second half has “started well”, while he seemed to hint that guidance for 2019 could be revised further down the line.
“Given the level of forward contracted business, the board is confident in meeting its expectations for the full year and those for 2019 which, at this early stage, remain unchanged.”
Shares opened flat at 269p.