Berkeley profits slide amid Brexit and pandemic uncertainty

Housebuilder Berkeley Group has posted a slump in profits as it cautioned over uncertainty amid Brexit and the impact of the second lockdown.

Shares in the company slipped after it revealed a 17% decline in pre-tax profits to £230.8 million for the half-year to October 31.

It said it still expects to deliver a pre-tax profit of £500 million, in line with previous forecasts, despite the decline and continued uncertainty.

The group said it hopes for greater clarity over the impact of the pandemic and the UK’s exit from the EU in the coming months.

In a statement, it said: “The coming months will see further evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, including the impact of the second national lockdown and tapering of Government support and stimuli, as well as the emergence of the UK’s new trading relationships with the European Union and rest of the world, following Brexit.”

Berkeley reported that revenues fell by 3.8% to £895.9 million for the six-month period.

The group said it delivered 1,104 homes over the period at an average price of £799,000, compared with 1,389 homes at £644,000.

It also hailed solid forward sales, which it said currently stands as £1.94 billion.

Rob Perrins, chief executive of the group, said: “We have continued to invest in the business; adding four new sites covering 2,800 homes to our land holdings that now includes 28 large, complex, long-term regeneration sites; and increasing our investment in build work-in-progress ahead of the growth in annual completions forecast for the next five years.

“At 11,000, we now have over 10% more people working on our construction sites than prior to the pandemic.”

Shares in the company fell 1.8% to 4,764p in early trading.

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