Berkeley shares dip as housebuilder reports higher profits but flags ‘uncertainty’

Shares in housebuilder Berkeley Group (LSE: BKG) dipped 2% this morning despite the company reporting a 4.6% rise in pretax profit to £298.0 million for the six months to October 31. Berkeley also more than doubled its interim dividend to 59 pence per share, up from 21 pence per share a year earlier. However, Berkeley shares are still up 24% year-to-date and 27% versus last year.

Chief executive Rob Perrins warned that uncertainty caused by planning, tax and regulatory regimes is making urban regeneration increasingly difficult. He said the company is ready to invest in new opportunities but needs to see improvements in the regulatory environment and returns before it commits funds.

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Revenues edged down 0.8% to £1.19 billion while net operating expenses fell 11%. Going forward, Berkeley is targeting at least £1.5 billion in pretax profit over this and the next two financial years.

Analyst Charlie Huggins said Berkeley has delivered a “solid performance” but flagged issues around planning and regulation that are deterring investment in new housing schemes. This comes at a time when there is a “chronic housing shortage” in the UK.