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Meritage Homes Reports Strong Third Quarter 2012 Results



Meritage Homes Reports Strong Third Quarter 2012 Results

Diluted EPS of $0.19; Revenue Increases 58%; Orders Up 33%; Backlog Value Up
70%

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Oct. 25, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meritage Homes
Corporation (NYSE:MTH), a leading U.S. homebuilder, today announced third
quarter results for the period ended September 30, 2012.

Summary Operating Results (unaudited)
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
                                                                          
                  Three Months Ended September Nine Months Ended September 30,
                  30,
                  2012        2011        %Chg 2012          2011        %Chg
Homes closed      1,197       840         43%  2,998         2,374       26%
(units)
Home closing       $ 334,880   $ 217,534  54%   $ 820,242     $ 615,154  33%
revenue
Average sales      $ 280       $ 259      8%    $ 274         $ 259      6%
price - closings
Home orders       1,204       906         33%  3,701         2,656       39%
(units)
Home order value   $ 366,752   $ 245,235  50%   $ 1,060,910   $ 701,861  51%
Average sales      $ 305       $ 271      13%   $ 287         $ 264      9%
price - orders
Ending backlog                                 1,618         1,060       53%
(units)
Ending backlog                                  $ 489,522     $ 288,523  70%
value
Average sales                                   $ 303         $ 272      11%
price - backlog
Net income/(loss)  $ 6,784     $ (3,235)  n/m   $ 10,035      $ (9,332)  n/m
Diluted EPS       $ 0.19      $ (0.10)    n/m  $ 0.30        $ (0.29)    n/m

Management comments

"Our results for the third quarter improved across the board, reflecting the
benefits of our superior community locations, fresh new product designs and
industry-leading energy efficiency. We reported strong year over year
increases in home closings, revenue, margins and earnings, as well as home
orders, backlog and lot count," said Steven J. Hilton, chairman and chief
executive officer of Meritage Homes. "We generated net income of $6.8 million,
or $0.19 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2012, which was negatively
impacted by a charge of $8.7 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for a
reserve related to ongoing litigation over one former joint venture project in
the Las Vegas area, which is likely to remain unresolved for the foreseeable
future. These results reflect a significant improvement over the third quarter
of 2011, when we reported a net loss of $3.2 million, or ($0.10) per diluted
share.

 "We've been in the early stages of a recovery in the homebuilding industry
since the beginning of this year, and Meritage has reported 39% growth in
total orders over 2011 during that time, with September being our eleventh
consecutive month of year-over-year increases in orders," he continued. "We
believe the improving homebuilding industry could serve as a catalyst to help
our national economy grow. We have raised additional capital over the past two
quarters to take advantage of anticipated opportunities for growth, and have
been deploying that capital to acquire more lots and open new communities. At
this time, we expect to close between 4,100-4,300 homes in 2012."

Third quarter 2012 operating results compared to 2011

  * Net income increased $10.0 million over 2011 to $6.8 million ($0.19 per
    diluted share) in the third quarter of 2012, compared to a $3.2 million
    loss in the prior year. The 2012 results included a previously announced
    $8.7 million charge to increase reserves related to pending litigation
    surrounding the Nevada joint venture known as South Edge, as explained in
    an 8-K filed on September 6, 2012, and $417,000 of impairments, compared
    to impairments of $1.0 million in the prior year.
     
  * Home closing revenue increased 54% due to a 43% increase in home closings
    and an 8% increase in average price over the prior year period.

        Total closings of 1,197 homes for the third quarter was the highest
  quarterly total since the second quarter of 2010.

    * California and Arizona achieved the highest increases in closing
      revenue, at 209% and 79%, respectively, compared to the third quarter of
      2011.

  * Home orders increased 33% and combined with a 13% increase in average
    selling price for a 50% increase in total order value over the third
    quarter of 2011.

    * Total active communities increased to 153 at September 30, 2012,
      compared to 149 at September 30, 2011.

    * Average orders per community during the quarter increased 27% over the
      prior year to 7.9, compared to 6.2 in 2011. Excluding operations in
      Nevada that are winding down, the states with the highest orders per
      community were California, at 12.7; Colorado, at 11.0; and Florida, at
      10.1. The greatest accelerations in orders per community over 2011 were
      in California and Arizona.

    * Cancellation rate decreased to 13% in the third quarter of 2012,
      compared to 17% in the third quarter of 2011, below our historical
      average cancellation rate in the 20-25% range.

    * Ending backlog of orders was up 53% over the prior year, and the total
      value of orders in backlog was up 70%, aided by an 11% increase in
      average price per home

  * Home closing gross margin increased to 18.6% in the third quarter of 2012
    compared to 17.5% in the third quarter of 2011. Margins increased due to
    sales price increases and construction overhead leverage, partially offset
    by increases in various cost components.
     
  * Commissions and selling expenses decreased by 140 basis points from the
    prior year, to 7.7% of home closing revenue in the third quarter of 2012,
    compared to 9.1% of home closing revenue in the third quarter of 2011, as
    higher closing revenue resulted in greater leverage of the fixed
    components within selling costs.
     
  * General and administrative expenses for the third quarter of 2012
    decreased by 200 basis points to 5.6% of total revenue in 2012, compared
    to 7.6% of total revenue in 2011.
     
  * Interest expense decreased to $5.0 million or 1.5% of revenue in the third
    quarter of 2012, despite additional debt issued during the quarter,
    compared to $7.5 million or 3.5% of revenue in the third quarter of 2011.
    A greater portion of interest incurred was capitalized to assets under
    development, and interest expense leverage improved with increased
    revenue.
     
  * Pre-tax margin increased 340 basis points to 2.0% in the third quarter of
    2012, despite the litigation-related charge which reduced pre-tax margin
    by 250 basis points, as compared to a (1.4%) pre-tax margin in the third
    quarter of 2011.

Year to date 2012 operating results compared to 2011

  * Net income of $10.0 million for the first nine months of 2012 included a
    $5.8 million loss on early extinguishment of debt and $1.6 million of
    impairments, in addition to the $8.7 million charge related to litigation
    surrounding the South Edge joint venture, and a $4.8 million net tax
    benefit primarily due to the reversal of most of a valuation allowance
    previously recorded against the company's deferred state tax asset in
    Florida. By comparison, the $9.3 million loss in the third quarter of 2011
    included $2.3 million of impairments and a tax provision of $560,000.
     
  * Pre-tax income increased $14.0 million to $5.2 million in the first nine
    months of 2012, from a pre-tax loss of $8.8 million in the first nine
    months of 2011. Adjusted pre-tax income excluding the loss on
    extinguishment of debt, impairments and the charge related to the South
    Edge litigation was $21.3 million for the first nine months of 2012,
    compared to an adjusted pre-tax loss of $6.5 million, excluding
    impairments, for the same period in 2011.
     
  * Home closings and closing revenue increased 26% and 33%, respectively, for
    the first nine months of 2012 as compared to 2011.
     
  * Year-to-date home closing gross margins improved by 60 basis points to
    18.2% for the first nine months of 2012, compared to 17.6% for 2011.
     
  * Year-to-date net orders through September 30, 2012 increased 39% in 2012
    over 2011, and combined with a 9% increase in average sales prices to
    result in total order value increasing 51% year over year.

Balance sheet items

  * Cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and securities at September 30,
    2012, totaled $386.9 million, compared to $333.2 million at December 31,
    2011 and $357.2 million at September 30, 2011.
     
  * Net increase in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and securities
    of $182.2 million during the third quarter of 2012 resulted from increased
    closings and net proceeds from capital transactions, partially offset by
    land spending and increases in real estate assets.

    * Raised approximately $87.1 million in net proceeds from an equity
      offering of 2.65 million common shares in July of 2012.

    * Raised approximately $122.3 million in net proceeds from the issuance of
      $126.5 million aggregate principle amount of 1.875% convertible senior
      notes due 2032, in September of 2012, with a 47.5% conversion premium.

    * Cash spent on land and development during the third quarter of 2012
      totaled $114.1 million, including the purchase of 2,129 lots.

    * Total real estate assets of $1.0 billion at September 30, 2012, compared
      to $815.4 million at December 31, 2011 and $798.1 million one year ago.

  * Ended the quarter with 17,842 total lots under control, of which 85% were
    owned, compared to 17,586 at June 30, 2012 and 16,049 at September 30,
    2011, a net increase of approximately 1,800 lots over the prior year.
     
  * Put in place a $125 million credit facility for additional liquidity to
    finance growth. Nothing was drawn on the facility through September 30,
    2012.
     
  * Net debt-to-capital ratio at September 30, 2012 was 36.0%, compared to
    33.4% at September 30, 2011.

Conference call

Management will host a conference call today to discuss the Company's results
at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time (7:30 a.m. Pacific Time). The call will be webcast
by Business-to-Investor, Inc. (B2i), with an accompanying slideshow on the
"Investor Relations" page of the Company's web site at
http://investors.meritagehomes.com. For telephone participants, the dial-in
number is 877-317-6789 and the conference number is 10019347. Participants are
encouraged to dial in five minutes before the call begins. A replay of the
call will be available for fifteen days, beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET on October
25, 2012 on the website noted above, or by dialing 877-344-7529, and
referencing conference number 10019347. For more information, visit
meritagehomes.com.

Meritage Homes Corporation and Subsidiaries
Operating Results
(Unaudited)
(In thousands, except per share data)
                                                                   
                           Three Months Ended        Nine Months Ended
                           September 30,             September 30,
                           2012         2011         2012         2011
Operating results                                                  
Home closing revenue        $334,880     $217,534     $820,242     $615,154
Land closing revenue       7,763        —            8,846        100
Total closing revenue      342,643      217,534      829,088      615,254
Home closing gross profit  62,154       38,070       149,213      108,037
Land closing gross         270          (127)        13           (118)
profit/(loss)
Total closing gross profit 62,424       37,943       149,226      107,919
Commissions and other      (25,855)     (19,708)     (67,950)     (53,876)
sales costs
General and administrative (19,209)     (16,466)     (50,446)     (46,582)
expenses
Interest expense           (5,009)      (7,517)      (18,718)     (23,036)
Loss on extinguishment of  —            —            (5,772)      —
debt
Other (expense)/income,    (5,365)      2,673        (1,086)      6,803
net (1)
Income/(loss) before       6,986        (3,075)      5,254        (8,772)
income taxes
(Provision for)/benefit    (202)        (160)        4,781        (560)
from income taxes
Net income/(loss)           $ 6,784     $ (3,235)     $ 10,035    $ (9,332)
Income/(loss) per share                                            
Basic:                                                             
Income/(loss) per share     $ 0.19      $ (0.10)      $ 0.30      $ (0.29)
Weighted average shares    35,216       32,417       33,541       32,358
outstanding
Diluted:                                                           
Income/(loss) per share     $ 0.19      $ (0.10)      $ 0.30      $ (0.29)
Weighted average shares    35,761       32,417       34,010       32,358
outstanding
Non-GAAP Reconciliations:                                          
Home closing gross profit   $ 62,154     $ 38,070     $149,213     $108,037
Add: Real estate-related   417          920          904          2,174
impairments
Adjusted home closing       $ 62,571     $ 38,990     $150,117     $110,211
gross profit
Income/(loss) before        $ 6,986     $ (3,075)     $ 5,254     $ (8,772)
income taxes
Add Real estate-related                                            
impairments:
Terminated lot options and 263          225          1,015        227
land sales
Impaired Projects          154          822          558          2,074
Litigation reserve related 8,720        —            8,720        —
to South Edge
Loss on early              —            —            5,772        —
extinguishment of debt
Adjusted income/(loss)      $ 16,123    $ (2,028)     $ 21,319    $ (6,471)
before income taxes
                                                                   
(1) 2012 other (expense)/income, net includes an $8.7 million charge to
increase reserves related to ongoing and unresolved litigation associated with
the joint venture project known as South Edge in the Las Vegas area, as
explained in an 8-K on September 6, 2012.
 
 

Meritage Homes Corporation and Subsidiaries
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
(In thousands)
(unaudited)
                                                                   
                                                    September 30, December 31,
                                                    2012          2011
Assets:                                                            
Cash and cash equivalents                            $ 305,049     $ 173,612
Investments and securities                          66,549        147,429
Restricted cash                                     15,254        12,146
Other receivables                                   16,681        14,932
Real estate ^(2)                                    1,004,825     815,425
Deposits on real estate under option or contract    12,983        15,208
Investments in unconsolidated entities              12,008        11,088
Other assets                                        47,853        31,538
Total assets                                         $ 1,481,202   $ 1,221,378
Liabilities and Equity:                                            
Accounts payable, accrued liabilities, home sale     $ 162,460     $ 126,057
deposits and other liabilities
Senior notes                                        496,350       480,534
Convertible senior notes                            126,500       —
Senior subordinated notes                           99,825        125,875
Total liabilities                                   885,135       732,466
Total stockholders' equity                          596,067       488,912
Total liabilities and equity                         $ 1,481,202   $ 1,221,378
^(2) Real estate – Allocated costs:                                
Homes under contract under construction              $ 205,616     $ 101,445
Unsold homes, completed and under construction      98,354        97,246
Model homes                                         55,853        49,892
Finished home sites and home sites under            524,842       441,242
development
Land held for development                           54,981        55,143
Land held for sale                                  24,619        29,908
Communities in mothball status                      40,560        40,549
Total allocated costs                                $ 1,004,825   $ 815,425

 
 
Supplemental Information and Non-GAAP Financial Disclosures (In thousands –
unaudited):
                                                                  
                            Three Months Ended    Nine Months Ended September
                            September 30,         30,
                            2012       2011       2012           2011
Depreciation and             $ 2,299    $ 1,694    $ 5,913        $ 5,267
amortization
                                                                  
Summary of Capitalized                                            
Interest:
Capitalized interest,        $ 17,836   $ 13,205   $ 14,810       $ 11,679
beginning of period
Interest incurred           11,654     10,848     33,819         32,545
Interest expensed           (5,009)    (7,517)    (18,718)       (23,036)
Interest amortized to cost
of home, land closings and  (4,296)    (2,421)    (9,726)        (7,073)
impairments
Capitalized interest, end    $ 20,185   $ 14,115   $ 20,185       $ 14,115
of period
                                                                  
                                                  September 30,  December 31,
                                                  2012           2011
Notes payable and other                            $ 722,675      $ 606,409
borrowings
Less: cash and cash
equivalents, restricted                           (386,852)      (333,187)
cash, and investments and
securities
Net debt                                          335,823        273,222
Stockholders' equity                              596,067        488,912
Total capital                                      $ 931,890      $ 762,134
Net debt-to-capital                                36.0%          35.8%

 
 
Meritage Homes Corporation and Subsidiaries
Condensed Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
(In thousands)
(unaudited)
                                                                    
                               Three Months Ended      Nine Months Ended
                               September 30,           September 30,
                               2012        2011        2012        2011
Operating results                                                   
Net income/(loss)               $ 6,784    $ (3,235)    $ 10,035   $ (9,332)
Loss on early extinguishment   —           —           5,772       —
of debt
Real-estate related            417         1,047       1,573       2,301
impairments
Deferred tax valuation benefit (4)         —           (7,709)     —
Equity in earnings from JVs
and distributions of JV        148         158         (508)       678
earnings—net
Increase in real estate and    (48,079)    (24,153)    (188,317)   (63,846)
deposits, net
Other operating activities     13,389      7,705       46,902      18,986
Net cash used in operating     (27,345)    (18,478)    (132,252)   (51,213)
activities
Net cash provided by investing 38,431      7,981       70,744      102,533
activities
Proceeds from issuance of new  126,500     —           426,500     —
debt
Debt issuance costs            (4,166)     —           (9,500)     —
Repayments of senior notes     —           —           (315,080)   —
Proceeds from issuance of      87,125      —           87,125      —
common stock, net
Proceeds from stock option     2,678       33          3,900       1,831
exercises
Net cash provided by financing 212,137     33          192,945     1,831
activities
Net increase/(decrease) in     223,223     (10,464)    131,437     53,151
cash
Beginning cash and cash        81,826      167,568     173,612     103,953
equivalents
Ending cash and cash            $ 305,049   $ 157,104   $ 305,049   $ 157,104
equivalents (3)
                                                                    
(3) Ending cash and cash equivalents as of September 30, 2012 and
September 30, 2011 excludes investments and securities and restricted cash
totaling $82 million and $200 million, respectively.

 
 
Meritage Homes Corporation and Subsidiaries
Operating Data
(Dollars in thousands)
(unaudited)
                                                                
                                        Three Months Ended September 30,
                                        2012             2011
                                        Homes Value      Homes Value
Homes Closed:                                                   
California                              244    $ 88,748  83     $ 28,708
Nevada                                  22    4,113      19    4,222
West Region                             266   92,861     102   32,930
Arizona                                 243   59,519     137   33,314
Texas                                   434   104,041    440   102,121
Colorado                                83    27,639     68    21,500
Central Region                          760   191,199    645   156,935
North Carolina                          40    14,459     —     —
Florida                                 131   36,361     93    27,669
East Region                             171   50,820     93    27,669
Total                                   1,197  $ 334,880 840    $ 217,534
Homes Ordered:                                                  
California                              248    $ 94,974  121    $ 41,146
Nevada                                  22    4,384      10    2,182
West Region                             270   99,358     131   43,328
Arizona                                 229   70,315     189   52,684
Texas                                   425   106,116    361   82,758
Colorado                                88    28,925     80    26,715
Central Region                          742   205,356    630   162,157
North Carolina                          36    12,709     —     —
Florida                                 156   49,329     145   39,750
East Region                             192   62,038     145   39,750
Total                                   1,204  $ 366,752 906    $ 245,235

 
 
Meritage Homes Corporation and Subsidiaries
Operating Data
(Dollars in thousands)
(unaudited)
                                                             
                                                             
                                   Nine Months Ended September 30,
                                   2012               2011
                                   Homes Value        Homes Value
Homes Closed:                                                
California                         489    $ 172,575   228    $ 77,930
Nevada                             39    7,402        49    10,360
West Region                        528   179,977      277   88,290
Arizona                            593   153,190      418   100,230
Texas                              1,190 277,436      1,269 302,536
Colorado                           227   75,816       175   55,757
Central Region                     2,010 506,442      1,862 458,523
North Carolina                     84    30,513       —     —
Florida                            376   103,310      235   68,341
East Region                        460   133,823      235   68,341
Total                              2,998  $ 820,242   2,374  $ 615,154
Homes Ordered:                                               
California                         714    $ 258,053   293    $ 98,859
Nevada                             61    11,455       51    11,072
West Region                        775   269,508      344   109,931
Arizona                            738   200,258      499   128,592
Texas                              1,370 332,007      1,252 296,886
Colorado                           266   88,012       221   71,345
Central Region                     2,374 620,277      1,972 496,823
North Carolina                     109   38,841       —     —
Florida                            443   132,284      340   95,107
East Region                        552   171,125      340   95,107
Total                              3,701  $ 1,060,910 2,656  $ 701,861
Order Backlog:                                               
California                         307    $ 113,126   110    $ 36,224
Nevada                             27    5,129        14    3,081
West Region                        334   118,255      124   39,305
Arizona                            303   92,300       206   60,342
Texas                              576   148,065      446   105,957
Colorado                           109   35,689       98    32,552
Central Region                     988   276,054      750   198,851
North Carolina                     49    16,944       —     —
Florida                            247   78,269       186   50,367
East Region                        296   95,213       186   50,367
Total                              1,618  $ 489,522   1,060  $ 288,523

 
 
Meritage Homes Corporation and Subsidiaries
Operating Data
(unaudited)
                                                           
                             Three Months Ended
                             September 30, 2012 September 30, 2011
                             Beg.      End      Beg.      End
Active Communities:                                        
California                   20        19       18        22
Nevada                       2         2        3         3
West Region                  22        21       21        25
Arizona                      32        34       35        37
Texas                        68        68       68        65
Colorado                     8         8        8         9
Central Region               108       110      111       111
North Carolina               5         7        —         —
Florida                      16        15       13        13
East Region                  21        22       13        13
Total                        151       153      145       149
                                                           
                                                           
                             Nine Months Ended
                             September 30, 2012 September 30, 2011
                             Beg.      End      Beg.      End
Active Communities:                                        
California                   20        19       14        22
Nevada                       2         2        4         3
West Region                  22        21       18        25
Arizona                      37        34       32        37
Texas                        67        68       82        65
Colorado                     10        8        9         9
Central Region               114       110      123       111
North Carolina               3         7        —         —
Florida                      18        15       10        13
East Region                  21        22       10        13
Total                        157       153      151       149

About Meritage Homes Corporation

Meritage Homes is the ninth-largest public homebuilder in the United States
based on homes closed in 2011. Meritage builds a variety of homes across the
Southern and Western states to appeal to a wide range of buyers, including
first-time, move-up, luxury and active adults. As of September 30, 2012, the
company had 153 actively selling communities in 15 metropolitan areas,
including Northern California, East Bay/Central Valley and Southern
California, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio,
Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson, Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando, Tampa and
Raleigh-Durham. In 2012, Meritage also announced its entry into the Charlotte
market.

Meritage is an industry leader in innovation and energy efficiency. Meritage
was the first national homebuilder to be 100 percent ENERGY STAR^® qualified
in every home it builds, and far exceeds ENERGY STAR standards in most of its
communities. Meritage has designed and built more than 75,000 homes in its
27-year history, and has a reputation for its distinctive style, quality
construction, and positive customer experience.

For more information, visit meritagehomes.com.

The Meritage Homes Corporation logo is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2624

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include
those regarding the Company's expectations for a continued rebound in the
homebuilding industry, its projected closings in 2012 and 2013, and its
ability to use additional capital to grow, all of which are subject to
significant risks and uncertainties. The Company makes no commitment, and
disclaims any duty, to update or revise any forward-looking statements to
reflect future events or changes in these expectations.

Meritage's business is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. As a
result of those risks and uncertainties, the Company's stock and note prices
may fluctuate dramatically. The risks and uncertainties include but are not
limited to the following: weakness in the homebuilding market resulting from
an unexpected setback in the current economic recovery; interest rates and
changes in the availability and pricing of residential mortgages; adverse
changes in tax laws that benefit our homebuyers; the ability of our potential
buyers to sell their existing homes; cancellation rates and home prices in our
markets; inflation in the cost of materials used to construct homes; the
adverse effect of slower order absorption rates; potential write-downs or
write-offs of assets, including pre-acquisition costs and deposits; the
availability of finished lots and undeveloped land; our potential exposure to
natural disasters; the liquidity of our joint ventures and the ability of our
joint venture partners to meet their obligations to us and the joint venture;
competition; the success of our strategies in the current homebuilding market
and economic environment; the adverse impacts of cancellations resulting from
small deposits relating to our sales contracts; construction defect and home
warranty claims; our success in prevailing on contested tax positions; the
impact of deferred tax valuation allowances and our ability to preserve our
operating loss carryforwards; our ability to obtain performance bonds in
connection with our development work; the loss of key personnel; our failure
to comply with laws and regulations; the availability and cost of materials
and labor; our lack of geographic diversification; fluctuations in quarterly
operating results; the Company's financial leverage and level of indebtedness;
our ability to take certain actions because of restrictions contained in the
indentures for the Company's senior and senior subordinated notes and our
ability to raise additional capital when and if needed; our credit ratings;
successful integration of future acquisitions; government regulations and
legislative or other initiatives that seek to restrain growth or new housing
construction or similar measures; acts of war; the replication of our "Green"
technologies by our competitors; our exposure to information technology
failures and security breaches; and other factors identified in documents
filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including
those set forth in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and most
recent 10-Q under the caption "Risk Factors," which can be found on our
website.

CONTACT: Brent Anderson, VP Investor Relations
         (972) 580-6360 (office)
         Brent.Anderson@meritagehomes.com

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