FTSE 250 housebuilding firm Crest Nicholson (LON:CRST) saw its share price fall by 11.96% to 220.80p (as of 15:00 BST) after reporting a 50% drop in revenues for the six months ended 30th April. The company booked a loss before tax for the period as home completions declined by 34.7% for the half year. Sites have now reopened, but full year guidance remains suspended due to the large levels of ongoing uncertainty.
CEO Peter Truscott commented: “Despite a difficult first half performance we have made excellent progress implementing our updated strategy. We are ahead of our own expectations in a number of our strategic priorities and that has been delivered against the backdrop of COVID-19. The health and safety of our customers, employees and extended supply chain will always be our number one priority and as you would expect we continue to focus closely on ensuring the safe return of these groups to our sites and sales and management offices. I am hugely grateful to all Crest Nicholson employees who have quickly pulled together to make this happen.
“Before lockdown the business was performing well and trading in line with our expectations. We were continuing to recognise further improvements to margin in our current developments and short-term land portfolio. We were also delighted to be awarded five-star status by the HBF customer satisfaction scheme in March this year.
“However, we cannot ignore the risks that COVID-19 presents to the UK housing market even if we cannot predict with certainty what the impact of those risks will be. Therefore, we have adapted our strategy by deferring the planned opening of an additional division and targeting further reductions in overheads. Taking decisive action now will ensure Crest Nicholson is able to flourish in whatever market conditions may emerge in the future including if the market quickly returns to growth“.