Cala sales through roof
Housebuilder makes record profits too thanks to stable city market
Cala Group chief executive Alan Brown said yesterday a stable market in Aberdeen helped drive the housebuilder to record completions, profits and sales during the year to June 30.
The Granite City has already adjusted to lower oil prices and demand for Cala’s new homes in Europe’s oil and gas capital remains strong, he added.
He was speaking after Cala, which has its roots in the north-east but is now headquartered in Edinburgh, posted a 14% jump in pre-tax profits to £68.5million. Revenue surged by 27% to a record £747.9, keeping the firm on course for its target of £1billion annually by 2020.
Cala reported a 46% increase in total home completions during the year to 1,677, with an average selling price of £497,000.
It said the £1million plus market remained challenging, due to higher rates of land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) in Scotland and stamp duty south of the border, but its exposure to this segment was “diminishing rapidly”.
Mr Brown added his voice to growing calls for a change in LBTT thresholds. “We would certainly advocate a change,” he added.
Cala reported a “residual impact” on profit margins from Aberdeen’s recent eco- nomic downturn, but Mr Brown said the company was currently seeing good levels of interest and sales at its developments around the city.
The firm has also grown its Aberdeen workforce by seven since the start of the year, and Cala’s boss said he was optimistic about growth prospects in the north-east. “It seems Aberdeen has now adjusted itself to oil prices at around $50 per barrel,” he added.
Mr Brown said: “I am delighted with the excellent results we have achieved at Cala in the 12 months to June 30 2017, in particular the exceptional progress in transforming the size and scope of our business which has seen us deliver our fifth consecutive year of record revenues and profits.
“Since the 2007/2008 industry peaks, we have achieved volume growth of 67%, significantly ahead of our major listed peers while still delivering consistently strong customer service and investing in our land pipeline.
“Following our record performance in 2017, we remain on course to achieve our stated strategic aim of building approximately 2,500 units per annum by 2020 and have the infrastructure in place to deliver on these growth plans.”
Cala was still encountering “unnecessary delays” in the planning system,” he said, adding: “A more progressive and constructive approach to planning from local authorities will enable the UK housing industry as a whole to deliver more homes and address the UK’s housing shortage.”
“Seems Aberdeen has now adjusted itself to oil prices at around $50 per barrel”
HOUSING BOOM: Cala chief executive Alan Brown said the group had enjoyed a 46% increase in home completions in the year to June 30