The proposed interim dividend was approved by the Bellway Board on 23 March 2021 and, in accordance with IAS 10 'Events after the Reporting Period', has not been included as a liability in these condensed consolidated interim financial statements. The interim dividend will be paid on Thursday 1 July 2021 to all ordinary shareholders on the Register of Members on Friday 21 May 2021. The ex-dividend date is Thursday 20 May 2021.
Other financial highlights include:
Volume growth of 6.3% to a record 5,656 homes (2020 - 5,321 homes) at the half year, and for the full year, the Board now expects that Bellway will complete the sale of around 10,000 homes (31 July 2020 - 7,522 homes).
The increase in volume, together with average selling price growth of 5.8% to £303,206 (2020 - £286,570), has resulted in a 12.5% increase in housing revenue to a record £1,714.9 million (2020 - £1,524.8 million).
Strong underlying demand, with a 3.3% increase in the private reservation rate to 156 per week (2020 - 151), building upon last year's robust first half trading performance.
The operating margin, before net legacy building safety expense, was 17.3% (2020 - 19.3%) and has been positively influenced by an efficient absorption of overheads due to the strong first half revenue performance. For the full year, the Board now expects that the operating margin, before net legacy building safety expense, will be around 17% (31 July 2020 - 14.5%).
The balance sheet is strong, with net cash of £346.4 million (2020 - £4.6 million), providing resilience and strategic flexibility. Land creditors remain low, at £371.7 million (2020 - £274.9 million).
A further £20.3 million, net of recoveries, has been set aside to help owners of legacy apartment schemes undertake fire safety improvements. This brings the total amount provided since 2017, in relation to fire safety, to £131.6 million, with £91.6 million of this remaining unutilised at 31 January.