Revival slows as Wimpey slumps
Wednesday 04 September 1996
George Wimpey, the UK's biggest housebuilder, revealed that it had slumped into the red in the first half and said house price rises were still patchy.
Elsewhere, hopes of a revival in the new housing and construction markets were dashed after Blue Circle, which produces half of Britain's cement output, predicted that volumes would be down around 4 per cent in 1996 and IMI, a leading maker of copper pipes and valves, said it expected the recovery in the new housing market to be delayed until next year.
Wimpey, which earlier this year swapped its mineral assets for Tarmac's McLean Homes housebuilding operation, displayed the worst scars from the sluggish markets. Profits of pounds 1m were replaced by a loss of pounds 8.6m in the first half of the year. The original Wimpey Homes operation saw the number of homes completed slump from 3,512 to 2,718, with McLean chipping in 2,303 units, slightly up on the same period last year.
The group played down reports of a booming house market, saying some sectors of the market were more active than others, particularly more up-market homes and in areas around London.
However, although Joe Dwyer, chairman and chief executive, expects sales to be down for the year, he remains optimistic that the worst is now over. "There are, for the first time in many years, real signs of sustained improvement in the UK housing market,'' he said yesterday.
That was not a message which found much resonance at Blue Circle, which reported an 8 per cent fall in cement volumes in the first half. Ian McKenzie, chief executive of the UK cement business, said that the expected outcome for the year was "very disappointing" in view of expectations six months ago of a good recovery this year.
He also launched an attack on the "disgrace" of Government spending on roads and other transport, which he said was at an "abysmally low level".
Investment column, page 18
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
- 5 John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final days of mother-of-two's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...
£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Bloomber...