Beazer Builds on Gains

It beats fourth-quarter estimates and bumps up guidance.
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Beazer Homes'

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fourth-quarter profit more than doubled from a year ago, as the company sold more houses at higher prices.

Beazer earned $164.4 million, or $3.61 a share, in the quarter, compared with $80.1 million, or $1.82 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 50% to $1.81 billion, an improvement that compared favorably with a 43% rise in home construction and land expenses to $1.37 billion. Analysts were forecasting $3.11 a share in third-quarter profit.

"During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005, the company realized increases over the prior year in its home construction gross margin, total gross margin and operating income margin of 350 basis points, 340 basis points, and 350 basis points, respectively," Beazer noted. It cited continued strong pricing in most major markets.

Beazer closed 6,339 home sales in the third quarter and ended the period with a backlog of 9,233 homes, up 9% from a year ago, with a sales value of $2.72 billion, up 22%.

For the year ending next September, Beazer expects to earn $10.50 a share, citing its backlog. Analysts were forecasting $10.44 a share.

"We expect continued execution of our profitable growth strategy to capitalize on our broad geographic profile through focused product expansion, leveraging our national brand and achieving optimal efficiencies, will result in continued growth and meaningfully enhanced shareholder value," the company said.

The stock added $1.36, or 2.2%, to $61.56, about 5.9% the 2006 guidance.