Rebuilt Bellwinch narrows losses

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The Independent Online
BELLWINCH, the housebuilder that a year ago was a precarious 12 hours from receivership, is again operating profitably.

The London-based company sells two-, three- and four-bedroomed houses for between pounds 60,000 and pounds 120,000, mainly to second- and third-time buyers.

On turnover that rose from pounds 20.7m to pounds 23.1m, it made operating profits of pounds 483,000 in the year to 30 June, compared with losses of pounds 568,000 in 1990/91.

However, because its financial restructuring was not finalised until five months later than planned, the results had to absorb pounds 595,000 of interest costs, which left the company pounds 98,000 in the red before tax. The financial rescue, which included the transfer of a pounds 9.5m, nine-acre site in London Docklands to its banks, eliminated all of Bellwinch's pounds 20m of debts.

Raymond Davies, chief executive, said yesterday that, although Bellwinch was unlikely to remain nil-geared, he intended to keep debt 'under control'.

The latest results contrast starkly with the pounds 15m lost before tax in 1990/91, a year that saw a big write-down of the company's land assets. Net assets, incorporating 350 housing plots, are pounds 4m.

Bellwinch, Mr Davies said, will 'move forward in a solid, but slow manner. We have an pounds 8m banking facility, not that I want to use it'.

The move forward will soon incorporate a further 145 plots, located within the M25 and south of Milton Keynes, for which terms have been agreed.

Bellwinch is paying pounds 16,000 for James & Wallis of Beaconsfield, a soft furnishings business, enabling cost savings on the pounds 200,000 it spends annually on fitting out its houses with carpets and curtains.

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