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Toll Posts Loss, Cancelation Rate Falls

HORSHAM, Pa. ( TheStreet) -- Toll Brothers (TOL - Get Report), the luxury homebuilder, reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $111.4 million, or 68 cents a share, wider than the year-earlier loss as it recorded substantial writedowns and charges.

The latest period included, among other items, $85.5 million pretax noncash inventory writedowns. Excluding items, the pretax loss in the quarter was $9.6 million.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, Toll's loss was $78.8 million, or 49 cents a share, including pretax $175.9 million of noncash inventory and other writedowns.

Toll said fourth-quarter net signed contracts of 765 units rose 42% from a year ago. On a dollars basis, net signed contracts gained 62% to $430.8 million.

Toll, in a press release Thursday, said its cancelation rate was 6.9% in the fourth quarter, in line with pre-downturn historical averages. The cancelation rate was 8.5% in the third quarter.

Fourth-quarter homebuilding deliveries and revenue of 860 units and $486.6 million declined 20% in units and 30% in dollars, respectively.

Robert Toll, chairman and CEO, said the homebuilder is entering the fifth year of this "severe housing recession."

He said the company's declining cancelation rate and improved pace of contract signings "provide some signs of recovery."

Toll said it expects home deliveries in fiscal 2010 of between 2,000 and 2,750, below the 2,965 homes delivered in the latest fiscal year.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York .

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