The losses, far higher than most in the City are expecting, dwarf those reported by former blue chips of the industry, including Taylor Woodrow, George Wimpey and Costain. They underline the effects of over-aggressive expansion, particularly in housing, during the boom years.
The bulk of the losses will be due to write-offs and provisions as Neville Simms, who became chief executive 14 months ago, clears the decks ahead of economic recovery. S G Warburg, the house broker, is expecting pounds 365m of provisions for a pre-tax loss of pounds 355m, or 32p a share. But, like most other analysts, it expects the dividend to be maintained at 5.5p, the lower level set last year.
Almost half the provisions, pounds 160m, will be against the property division following the group's decision to withdraw from the business.Reuse content