Abbey plc: New Homes, Property Developers, Construction, Builders

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

ABBEY PLC
Preliminary Statement for the year ended 30 April 2013

The Board of Abbey plc reports a profit of €10.9 million before taxation against a profit of €12.1 million in the previous year. After a tax charge of €3.5 million the Group made a profit of €7.4 million reflecting earnings per share of 34.50 cents. Group operating profits during the year were €8.3 million against profits of €9.1 million in the previous year. The current year result includes an impairment charge of €3.5 million against property land and work in progress arising from the continuing difficult Irish and Czech Republic markets.

Dividends of 8 cents per share, absorbing €1.7 million were paid during the year

Our housebuilding operations completed 368 sales (UK 322; Ireland 35; CZK 11) with a turnover of €84.4 million generating an operating profit of €6.5 million. Trading in the UK was, overall, encouraging during the period. Sales benefited from gradually improving conditions in the spring. Prices continue to be competitive and margins are variable across our developments. The current year is off to a fair start with sales in the first few weeks at a good level. The introduction of government shared equity schemes is a significant market distortion with unclear medium term consequences, however we have applied for and been granted an allocation of funds under a “help to buy” scheme and are hopeful it will help maintain sales throughout the year. At the year end the UK division owned and controlled land with the benefit of planning permission for 1,130 plots. Terms have been agreed for further land acquisitions. The re-launch of our Irish business is now firmly underway. Since the year end contracts have been exchanged for a project of 25 homes in South Co. Dublin to compliment our scheme in Shankill. Further projects are being actively sought. Some signs of improving confidence are appearing, however the supply of mortgages will determine the pace and depth of any recovery. In Prague we completed 11 sales. This was a disappointing outcome. Asking prices were reduced at our project in Andel. The regulatory environment continues to be frustrating and slow. The achievement of workable approvals is measured in years rather than months. As always we review the value of all work in progress at the year end and a significant impairment to the value of some of our land bank has been recognised.

At the year end the Group owned and controlled land with the benefit of planning permission for the supply of 1,871 plots.

M & J reported operating profits of €979,000 on a turnover of €13.4 million. This was a good improvement on last year. Further progress this year will, if achieved, be hard won. Turnover in May and June was at similar levels to last year.

Rental income during the year was €768,000.

The Group benefits from strong liquidity and held €34.0 million in cash and restricted cash together with €40.9 million in UK government bonds at the end of April. Since the year end bonds to the value of €5.7 million have been realised.

The outlook for the current year is for broadly similar levels of activity to be maintained. The gradual expansion of the UK land bank together with recent land acquisitions is laying the basis for faster turnover growth in the years ahead. The overall weakness of general economic activity in our operating regions will continue to be the framework against which our prospects must be assessed.

The Board is pleased to recommend a dividend of 5 cents per share for approval at the Annual General Meeting.

Shareholders should carefully note the exchange rates used for this statement. The income statement uses the average exchange rate for the year of 100 cents: STG 81.74p and 100 cents: CZK 25.34 The balance sheet uses the ratio prevailing on 30 April 2013 of 100 cents: STG 84.72p and 100 cents: CZK 25.79.

On behalf of the Board
CHARLES H GALLAGHER
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
11 July 2013

The Preliminary Results financial statements for the year ended 30 April 2013 can be accessed by clicking on the link below:
Prelim Statement 11 July 2013

The Directors’ report and group financial statements for the year ended 30 April 2013 can be accessed by clicking on the below:
PLC CONSOL (30.04.2013)