18 February 2015, Written by Nick Nichols

A NEAR doubling of home sales in the December quarter has put Gold Coast housing developer Villa World on track for a bumper 2016 as it builds on a 71 per cent surge in profits over the December half to $13 million.

The latest result, at the upper end of forecast, has come off the back of a surge in demand for properties in both south-east Queensland and Melbourne, the company's key markets.

The result puts Villa World on track to record a net profit of at least $28.5 million this financial year, up from $22.6 million in FY14. But it is the strong forward sales in the latest half that are likely to drive the results even higher in FY16.

Villa World has revealed that average sales for the December quarter surged to 72.7 per month from just 44.7 per month in the September quarter. The sales were buoyed by the release of three new projects in Queensland and two in Victoria.

Revenue for the six months to the end of December jumped 43 per cent to $134.1 million, aided by sales carried forward from last financial year.

Villa World has carried forward 364 sales contracts with a gross value of $138.7 million, and 334 of those sales are expected to settle this financial year.

Villa World has just secured $26.7 million from a heavily oversubscribed share issue to fund further acquisitions and capitalise on the housing spurt in its key markets. The acquisitions are aimed at boosting production to more than 1000 residential lots a year.

The Broadbeach-based developer spent $103.6 million in the first half of 2015 acquiring 2049 new lots, which has led to a doubling of its workbook over the past year to 5354 lots.

"Villa World is as well positioned as it has ever been in its near 30-year history," says managing director Craig Treasure.

"We are well capitalised to take advantage of acquisition opportunities. We continue to see attractive acquisition opportunities in our target markets and will look to further grow our development pipeline during 2015 to build future earnings, and capitalise on positive market conditions.

"The focus will remain on the continued replenishment of the portfolio in south-east Queensland, the south-eastern and northern growth corridors of Melbourne, and infill sites in both Melbourne and Brisbane."

Treasure says the focus will be on developments with three to five-year timeframes, although he has not ruled out larger projects that are "appropriately structured".

"We have ramped up our portfolio and our business to a point where we are able to sell 10001200 lots," he says.

"Our focus in the second half of 2015 will remain on delivering and settling carried-forward sales while continuing our commitment and capacity to acquire new land."

Villa World is paying an interim dividend of 6c per share, fully franked, and it is targeting a full-year payout of at least 15c.

Villa World's shares had a net tangible asset backing of $1.96 a share at the end of December, up from $1.92 a year earlier. Net debt stood at $98 million.
Author: Nick Nichols





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