Profit up 15%
Miller Homes achieves record operating margin
Chris Endsor: confidence in the market
Miller Homes has reported a 15% increase in annual operating profit to £151.1 million (£131.1m), enabling the Edinburgh-based company to achieve an operating margin of 20% for the first time and ahead of plan.
Chief executive Chris Endsor said demand for mid-market homes continues to be strong, underpinned by low interest rates and Government support with Help to Buy extended to 2023. Revenue was 11% ahead of 2017 at £747.0m (2017: £674.0m).
“We continue to have confidence in the resilience of the UK regional housing markets in which we operate and remain committed to our strategy of growing volumes incrementally to 4,000 units,” said Mr Endsor.
“Market conditions were strong in 2018 which is testament to the resilience of the market particularly as uncertainty surrounding the shape of the country’s exit from the EU increased during the year.
“Demand in our regional markets continued to be supported by high employment levels, increases in real wages for the first time in two years and a mortgage market with both low rates and an increased number of higher loan to value mortgages.
“Like most sectors, housebuilding is not immune to Brexit headwinds but it is re-assuring to note how the sector and our business has performed thus far in spite of the daily speculation surrounding the nature of the UK’s departure from the EU.”
Assisted by a modest level of house price inflation, the average selling price increased by 4% to £249,000 and total completions increased by 14% to 3,170 units (2017: 2,775 units) due to average sales outlets increasing to 71 (2017: 66).
Miller, which was acquired by Bridgepoint in 2017, continued to utilise the Help to Buy schemes in both England and Scotland, and combined they represented 33% (2017: 34%) of private reservations. Sales to first time buyers were 30% (2017: 34%) of private reservations and we continue to have a very low exposure to the investor market at 2% of private reservations (2017: 2%).
- 14% increase in total completions to 3,170 homes (2017: 2,775 homes)
- 4% increase in average selling price (ASP) to £249,000 (2017: £239,000)
- 15% increase in operating profit to £151.1m (2017: £131.1m)
- 70 basis point improvement in operating margin to 20.2% (2017: 19.5%)
- Return on underlying capital employed (ROCE) of 33.4% (2017: 33.0%)
- Free cash generated of £81.7m (2017: £75.4m)
- c3,900 plots acquired in last 12 months
- Forward sales at £292m and 6% ahead of last year
- 10% increase in owned landbank to 9,174 plots (2017: 8,364 plots) further supported by 3,350 controlled plots (2017: 5,374 plots)
- 5% increase in the strategic landbank to 17,331 plots (2017: 16,561 plots)
- 11% increase in staff numbers as we continue to invest in business growth
- On track to deliver our strategic target of 4,000 homes by 2021