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Barratt signals return to ranks of dividend payers

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House builder Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV) unveiled today a 113% increase in half yearly pre-tax profit.

It expects further profitability this year, it said, on the back of strong customer interest and better lending conditions.

Group revenues for the six months to Dec 31 came in at £951.1mln - slightly lower than the £952.8mln in 2011 as completions fell to 5,085 units from 5,117 in the previous year.

But pre-tax profits surged ahead to £46.1 mln from £21.6 mln.

Management said it expected to propose a final dividend for the year to June 30. Barratt last paid a dividend back in 2008.

It also has targets of achieving zero net debt as at June, 30, 2015, a dividend cover of around three times for the year ended 30 June 2016 and a substantial improvement in return on capital employed in the medium term.

Mark Clare, chief executive, described it as having been a "good" first half performance.

"Our order book of more than £1.1 billion reflects the strong customer interest we have seen in the early weeks of the year, supported by both NewBuy and better lending conditions.

"We're continuing to invest in new land to drive the future performance of the business and we expect a further significant improvement in profitability in this financial year."

Shares fell 0.42% to 234.50p.

Quick facts: Barratt Developments

Price: 502.8 GBX

LSE:BDEV
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £5.12 billion
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