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Beazer Suspends Dividend

Beazer Homes (BZH - Get Report), reeling from the housing market collapse, suspended its quarterly dividend and said it has slashed 25% of its workforce.

The Atlanta-based homebuilder said Monday that the suspension of its 10-cent quarterly dividend will help it conserve about $16 million in cash on an annual basis. Beazer said the move was "prudent" in light of the continued deterioration in the housing market.

In addition, the company said it has taken steps to reduce its annual costs by at least $30 million. Beazer said it cut about 650 jobs in October, about 25% of its workforce.

Beazer has yet to file its financial results for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30 because of an investigation into accounting mistakes. The company said, though, that it expects to record charges of about $230 million in the period for land inventory impairments and the abandonment of land option contracts. In addition, the builder is evaluating the potential for goodwill impairment charges.

Beazer said it had $459.5 million in cash at the end of the fourth quarter, up from $128.8 million a year earlier.

The company had already disclosed that its home orders tumbled 53% for the period to 973 homes. Beazer also had an extraordinarily high cancellation rate of 68%.

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