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Berkeley Group First-Half Profit Gains 45% on Improving Margin

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Berkeley Group Holdings Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest homebuilder by market value, said first-half profit rose 45 percent as the company sold more homes with wider margins.

Net income climbed to 107.5 million pounds ($173 million), or 73.9 pence a share, in the six months through October from 74 million pounds, or 53.7 pence, a year earlier, the Cobham, England-based company said in a statement today. Revenue rose 69 percent to 686 million pounds.

“These results, delivered in an uncertain market, demonstrate the value created by acquiring land at the right point in the economic cycle,” said Chairman Tony Pidgley in the statement.

The U.K.’s fragile recovery from a double-dip recession has hampered the property market and restricted mortgage lending, prompting the Bank of England to bolster the market with its Funding for Lending Scheme. Mortgage approvals rose to a nine-month high in October and a better-than-expected labor market is helping to stabilize the housing market.

Berkeley sold 1,927 homes in the first half compared with 1,506 a year earlier at an average price of 335,000 pounds. That compares with an average selling price of 254,000 pounds in the first six months of the previous fiscal year. Berkeley’s gross margin widened to 29.3 percent from 28.8 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Spillane in London at cspillane3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net

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