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Centex Slashes Guidance

Net orders fall 28%.
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Homebuilder

Centex

(CTX)

guided second-quarter earnings lower as net orders fell 28%.

The Dallas-based company said Thursday it was lowering its estimate for the quarter to 65 cents to 75 cents a share, well below the Thomson First Call consensus estimate of $1.33 a share.

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Centex said it expects second-quarter housing operating earnings of about $230 million based on 8,525 home closings. Net sales (orders) for the quarter were 6,828, a decrease of 28% from last year's second quarter. These results reflect current record levels of home sales contract cancellations, driven in many cases by the inability of buyers to sell their existing homes, the company said.

Centex expects option deposit and pre-acquisition walk-away costs to be in the $85 to $95 million range this quarter. Additionally, land valuation adjustments are expected to approximate $40 to $45 million, which includes the company's share of such amounts for a joint venture.

Centex said it "continues to place emphasis on free cash flow generation and building balance sheet strength in this environment."

Chairman and CEO Tim Eller said in a press release: "The housing market continues to adjust rapidly and Centex is executing its balanced approach to effectively manage these transitions. Cancellation rates that were well outside of historical levels diminished our earnings visibility this quarter. We continue to focus on generating cash and on positioning ourselves for strategic reinvestment as business conditions improve. We will provide additional information about our second quarter results in our quarterly conference call and press release."

Shares of Centex fell $2.39, or 4.3%, to $52.70 in after-hours trading following the release.