Raine reels on profits collapse and warning

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The Independent Online
BY JOHN SHEPHERD

Investors in Raine, the housebuilder, were reeling yesterday after a collapse in half-year profits and a bleak warning on prospects. The shares crashed from 47p to 30p, a 10-year low and less than a third of the price they traded at a year ago.

Besides the dent in the capital worth of shareholdings, investors' pockets are also going to be hit by a 50 per cent cut in the interim dividend to 0.5p. Raine will have to dip into reserves to make the payment as earnings per share are only 0.38p, down from 1.06p.

Taxable profits for the six months to December dived from £3.4m to barely more than £1m. Peter Parkin, chairman, said: "It is appropriate to express caution on earnings prospects for the full year in acknowledgement of the uncertainty surrounding the markets for both housebuilding and contracting in the UK."

He said the housing market in January showed considerable weakness. "In the short term, the group cannot expect meaningful profits growth from activities other than Hassall Homes whose performance is critical to the full year's results," he added.

Since the start of 1995, national visitor and reservation levels have been running 10 per cent below the comparable period. Hassall Homes was following the same national trends on a site-for-site basis.

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