UK scheme helps Abbey build €7.6m profit
Home-builder Abbey said it had a good performance in the UK during the six months to the end of October, helped by a government home-buying initiative there. The listed company reported a pre-tax profit of €7.6m for the period, higher than the €5.9m it generated in the corresponding period last year.
It said it completed 163 sales in the latest period, 156 of them in the UK, four in Ireland and three in the Czech Republic. Margins also improved compared to last year, according to Abbey.
"Sales supported by the UK government's 'Help to Buy' schemes have continued strongly into the autumn," the company said in an interim statement.
"The housing market in south-east England has been healthy over recent months and we are planning increased activity in the year ahead," it added.
"In Dublin, prices and activity have improved from very low levels. Overall, the group is hopeful of a good outcome for the year."
The company is progressing two small schemes in Dublin.
It said that advance sales of a development in Shankill have gone well, while another project – in Rathfarnham – will come to the market in the spring.
But it said competition for prime development plots in Ireland remains intense.
"In Britain and Ireland competition for new land opportunities is fierce and cost pressures are increasing steadily," it said.
The company also said that its UK plant hire business, M&J Engineers, generated a €638,000 operating profit in the six months to the end of October on turnover of €6.9m. That's slightly behind last year's half-year figure but Abbey said activity levels are now running ahead of 2012.