posted a strong first quarter and guided to 2006 earnings within range of the analyst consensus estimate.
The Atlanta-based homebuilder made $90 million, or $2 a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from the year-ago $70 million, or $1.57 a share. Revenue rose to $1.11 billion from $912 million a year earlier.
The numbers beat the Wall Street analyst earnings estimate of $1.96 a share on sales of $1.05 billion compiled by Thomson First Call.
"These results illustrate the effectiveness of our Profitable Growth Strategy aimed at achieving greater profitability by optimizing efficiencies, selectively increasing market penetration, and leveraging our national brand," CEO Ian McCarthy said. "Beazer Homes believes its ongoing commitment to execution of this strategy will position the company well in both the near-term environment and long-term environment. Presently, while certain housing markets are experiencing a return to normalized levels of activity, compared to recent years, the long-term industry fundamentals remain extremely compelling."
The company got 3,872 new orders in the first quarter, up 9% from a year ago, while its backlog rose 10% to 9,276 homes. Closings of 3,829 homes represent a first quarter record and resulted from year-over-year increases in the Southeast, Central and mid-Atlantic regions, offset partially by declines in the Midwest and West regions.
"Our current level of backlog, coupled with expectations for further competitive advantages for large public builders such as Beazer Homes, provides us with confidence in our future growth opportunities," said McCarthy. "In addition, we expect continued execution of our Profitable Growth Strategy in the near term will result in continued growth and meaningfully enhanced shareholder value. As such, we expect fiscal 2006 diluted earnings per share to meet or exceed $10.50 per share." Analysts polled by Thomson were looking for $10.59.