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

Interim 31 October 2014

ABBEY PLC
INTERIM STATEMENT FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED 31 OCTOBER 2014

The Board of Abbey plc reports a profit before taxation of €16.99m which compared with a profit of €7.65m for the corresponding period last year. Profits at the operating level were €16.53m as compared to €6.32m at the half way stage last year.

Our housebuilding division completed 225 sales (UK 205; Ireland 15; Czech Republic 5) with a turnover of €62.63m resulting in an operating profit of €14.68m. Trading in the UK was good throughout the period.
Strong margins are a notable feature and should be sustained into the next half year. Forward sales are particularly encouraging. Some shortages of labour and materials may impact production in the second half. Pressure on costs continued to be a feature of the market. In Ireland, our project in Rathfarnham is now 90% sold and our attention is turning to our project in Lucan which is scheduled to launch in the new year. In Prague sales completed in the period were disappointing, however, as last year a brighter second six months is in prospect. Overall further progress in all regions can be expected in the second half. During the period 405 plots were added to the land bank.

M & J Engineers, our UK plant hire business, generated operating profits of €1.39m on a turnover of €9.44m. This was a strong out-turn and the improvement in turnover is being sustained into the second half.

Rental income for the period amounted to €448,000.

The Group maintained good cash flow during the period and held €38.85m in cash together with €24.10m in UK government debt at the end of October.

The Board is pleased to declare a dividend of 5 cents per share which together with the 6 cents approved at the Annual General Meeting in October will make a total of 11 cents for the financial year. The dividend will be paid on 30 April 2015 to shareholders on the register at 2 April 2015.

Shareholders should carefully note the exchange rates used for this statement. The income statement uses the average rate for the period of 100 cents: STG 79.79 and 100 cents: CZK 27.56. The balance sheet uses the rate prevailing on 31 October 2014 of 100 cents: STG 78.31 and 100 cents: CZK 27.82.

The immediate outlook is positive. Our sales in South East England continue to be strong. In the medium term prospects are more uncertain, however, for this year the Group is on track for a good result.

The announcement this week by the UK Coalition that the UK Government intends to speculatively develop land for housing, when set alongside similar activities by Government agencies in Ireland, raises fundamental questions about the future environment for private development in both jurisdictions. Publicly supported UK Housing Associations already speculatively develop houses for sale. This week’s announcement will serve to further crowd out at the margin the role of private capital in housebuilding.

Copies of this statement are available to shareholders and members of the public at the company’s registered office, 25\28 North Wall Quay, Dublin 1.

On behalf of the Board
Charles H Gallagher – Chairman
5th December 2014

The Interim Results for the six months ended 31 October 2014 can be accessed by clicking on the following link:
Interim 31.10.2014