Edinburgh-based upmarket home builder Cala Group said its revenue rose 27% to £747.9 million and profit before tax increased 14% to £68.5 million in the year ended June 30.
Cala said it delivered a 46% increase in total home completions to 1,677.
Its average selling price fell 8% to £497,000 — a move Cala called “a planned reduction on the prior year following the group’s strategic decision to reduce its exposure to homes valued above £1 million.”
Cala said: “Our growth ambition, to generate annual revenue of around £1 billion by 2020 through the delivery of approximately 2,500 homes per annum, remains unchanged and is underpinned by our strong land pipeline.”
News reports in August said Cala’s owners — Legal & General and Patron Capital — had asked investment bank Lazard to begin sounding out prospective bidders for the company, but Cala made no mention of any sale in its statement.
Despite its strong results, Cala Group CEO Alan Brown said the firm is still encountering “unnecessary” delays in the planning system “owing to both understaffed local planning departments and a sizable disconnect between national housing policy and local government activity.”
He said that despite the well‐publicised housing shortage in the UK “local authorities continue to cause unnecessary delays” to the planning process.
Nonetheless, Brown added: “I am delighted with the excellent results we have achieved at Cala in the twelve months to 30 June 2017, in particular, the exceptional progress in transforming the size and scope of our business which has seen us deliver our fifth consecutive year of record revenues and profits.
“Since the 2007-2008 industry peaks, we have achieved volume growth of 67%, significantly ahead of our major listed peers while still delivering consistently strong customer service and investing in our land pipeline.
“Following our record performance in 2017, we remain on course to achieve our stated strategic aim of building approximately 2,500 units per annum by 2020 and have the infrastructure in place to deliver on these growth plans.
“We have entered the new financial year with strong trading momentum and, in the first ten weeks of 2017-18, net private reservations are up 34% on the same period last year with an average weekly reservation rate of 0.64 private sales per development.
“Although we welcomed some of the proposals in February’s White Paper around planning reform and the general direction of travel to improve the rate of delivery of new homes, we are still encountering unnecessary delays in the planning system owing to both understaffed local planning departments and a sizable disconnect between national housing policy and local government activity.
“As a result, despite the well‐publicised housing shortage in the UK, local authorities continue to cause unnecessary delays to the planning process.
“While we have grown significantly during the period and remain on course to achieve our growth ambitions, our output would have been considerably higher had we not encountered some entirely avoidable issues stemming from these delays.
“Although Cala has the land pipeline and infrastructure already in place to continue to play a growing role in delivering the homes that the UK needs, a more progressive and constructive approach to planning from local authorities will enable the UK housing industry as a whole to deliver more homes and address the UK’s housing shortage.”
On its current trading and outlook, Cala said: “The housing market has performed well during the summer with no apparent adverse consequences from the UK general election in June.
“Cala’s trading in the first few months of the new financial year has been encouraging with reservations and prices in line with our budgets and expectations for the summer holiday period.
“In the first 10 weeks of 2017-18 we have traded at a rate of 0.64 weekly sales per development, with net private reservations up 34% on the same period last year.
“The group has started the new financial year with a very solid forward sales position.
“At 1 July 2017, the group had accumulated 382 advance private home sales with a turnover value of £178.7 million (2016: 303 units and £160 million) for delivery by 30 June 2018.
“This is 26% higher in number than that achieved in 2016 and 12% more by value, driven by a broader product and site mix, diminishing exposure to the top end of the market and a stable market environment in Aberdeen.”