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Bellway posts strong sales rise hours after fire.

Byline: CALLUM KEOWN @CallumKeown1

HOUSEBUILDER Bellway reported strong sales growth and said it was on track for an earnings boost yesterday just hours after a fire devastated one of its developments. The FTSE 250 firm reported a 4.7 per cent jump in reservations over the period from 1 February to 2 June, to an average of 244 per week.

The developer also said it had acquired 10,620 "financially attractive" plots of land - an increase on the previous year - to keep it on course to meet next year's growth targets.

It added that customer confidence was "resilient" despite ongoing political uncertainty, and that the cancellation rate since 1 August had dropped 13 per cent in March to 12 per cent at the beginning of June.

Chief executive Jason Honeyman said: "Going forward, we are on track to deliver further earnings growth this financial year and beyond that, our strong balance sheet ensures that Bellway is in a good position to continue its long term strategy."

Its forward order book also rose 2.7 per cent to 6,312 homes.

The trading update came after a fire devastated a Bellway development in Barking on Monday, destroying 20 flats with wooden balconies and damaging a further 10.

Residents had previously raised concerns with the company over potential fire hazards, according to reports. A residents' association group urged Bellway to review the De Pass Gardens flat after a BBC Watchdog investigation last month claimed Persimmon and Bellway new-build homes were not fire safe.

Bellway said it was a "very serious issue" and it was working to establish what happened.

A company spokesman added Bellway was "relieved that the fire protection measures... ensured that occupants were safely evacuated".

The developer ignored the fire in its trading update, instead focusing on entirely on its financial results.

Despite the positive numbers, shares in the company dropped more than one per cent to 2,796p in the aftermath of the blaze.

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Publication:City AM (London, England)
Article Type:Financial report
Date:Jun 12, 2019
Words:342
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