Since he anticipates 2008 to be another difficult year, Beazer Homes CEO Ian McCarthy says the Atlanta-based builder is focused on managing issues that have surfaced over the past few months, such as a recent financial restatement and an internal investigation concerning compliance. The company also is installing a downturn management plan that will focus on cash savings across the board.
Other elements to the builder's future objectives include creating a Securities and Exchange Commission compliance program, putting additional dollars into Internet marketing, and reducing overhead costs.
Beazer's latest battle plans were announced on Tuesday at the JPMorgan Homebuilding and Building Products Conference in Las Vegas. The company also revealed some of its fourth-quarter results during its presentation-or at least as much as it can. Beazer is in a restatement period until May 15, 2008, so the quarterly results were incomplete.
The most telling figure from the report was the cancellation rate, which logged in at a stunning 68 percent. Leslie Kratcoski, Beazer's vice president, says that "headline issues" had a significant impact on the percentage. Federal, internal, and local investigations, top executive firings, default notices, and heavy losses have kept the builder mired in controversy this year. And McCarthy says the publicized incidents definitely delivered a blow to the builder's sales. Of the 3,000 units sold, an astonishing 2,000 were cancelled in the fourth quarter.
"A lot of headlines were out there," McCarthy noted. "Across the country, we had to struggle with the issue. It impacted all of our markets."
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.