February 20, 2017 / 7:16 AM / 10 months ago

UK builder Bovis posts profit fall, to build fewer homes

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Bovis Homes , whose boss left in January just days after the firm warned it would not meet market expectations, said its full-year pretax profit fell in 2016 and it will build fewer homes this year.

Bovis surprised the market at the end of December by saying it would miss market forecasts after failing to build the volumes it anticipated in 2016, with the turbulence prompting a shareholder to suggest it merges with a rival.

At the time it said profit would come in at between 160 and 170 million pounds ($210 million) but on Monday the firm posted a 3 percent drop to 155 million pounds.

It built nearly 4,000 homes last year but said it expected volumes to fall between 10 percent and 15 percent in 2017 before a return to “normal industry production,” despite almost all its peers building more homes and posting bumper profits.

Last month, shareholder Schroders Investment Management wrote to London builder Berkeley asking it to consider a merger, but sources close to both firms told Reuters there was little logic in such a tie-up. ($1 = 0.8046 pounds) (Reporting by Costas Pitas, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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