Toll Brothers Sees Big Year

First-quarter earnings rise 10% and the company's backlog is its highest ever.
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Luxury home-builder

Toll Brothers

(TOL) - Get Report

said first-quarter earnings rose 10% from a year ago and predicted that full-year earnings will rise at double that clip.

Huntingdon Valley, Pa.-based Toll earned $50.1 million, or 62 cents a share, in the latest quarter, compared with $45.4 million, or 61 cents a share, last year. First-quarter revenue rose 5% to $598 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson One Analytics were forecasting earnings of 60 cents a share on revenue of $617 million.

The company predicted 2004 earnings will rise 20% over 2003, making it another "record" year, despite the possibility of slightly fewer-than-previously forecast deliveries. "As previously reported, while the severe winter weather apparently has not slowed demand, it has slowed production and delayed closings," Toll said. "The frozen ground has also delayed the start of new home foundations in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions." Toll lowered the top end of its projected range of fiscal 2004 deliveries by 100 homes to 6,200. It left the low end of the forecast at 5,900.

Toll signed $904.4 million of new contracts covering 1,517 homes in the first quarter, up 54% from last year, and had quarter-end backlog of $2.95 billion, or 5,094 homes. That's the highest backlog of any quarter in the company's history, up 56% from last year.