Beazer Homes USA, Atlanta, (NYSE:BZH) reported a $33.8 million profit ($0.84 per diluted share) for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30 on Tuesday before market open. Analysts were expecting a loss of $1.24 per share not including extraordinary charges and gains.
The performance was triggered by an $89.3 million gain booked as a result of the early retirement of debt involving $269.3 million of senior notes bought out for $189.5 million and a reduced payoff of one of the company's secured notes resulting in a pre-tax gain of $14.3 million. Income from continuing operations was $35.3 million ($0.87 per diluted share), including charges of $29.9 million for inventory impairments and abandonment of land option contracts. The company did not provide per-share data minus the gains and charges.
Revenues fell 42% to $376.3 million as home closings from continuing operations fell 24.3% to 1,685 and average closing prices fell 8.6%. New orders from continuing operations increased 2.4% to 1,012 homes, an increase year-over-year of 2.4%. The new order increase was driven by a 35.5% increase in new orders in the East segment versus a 10% decline in the West and a 21.3% drop in the Southeast.
The cancellation rate improved to 34.7% in the fourth quarter compared to 46.3% in last year's fourth fiscal quarter but was up from 23% in the prior quarter. Backlog was 1,193 homes with a sales value of $280.8 million compared, down from 1,318 homes with a sales value of $318.4 million as of September 30, 2008.
Gross profit margin was 6.6% (14.6% without charges), compared to -0.7% (7.1% without charges) in the fourth fiscal quarter of the prior year. SG&A was down to $58.3 million from $89.2 million for fiscal fourth quarter, 2008.
Beazer controlled 30,638 lots at September 30, 2009 (83% owned and 17% controlled), including 762 owned lots in discontinued operations, down 22.7% from September 30, 2008. It had 270 unsold finished homes in inventory, a decline of approximately 34% from the level a year ago.
At quarter's end, Beazer had cash and cash equivalents of $556.8 million, including restricted cash of $49.5 million to collateralize outstanding letters of credit.
For the 2009 fiscal year, the company posted a loss from continuing operations of $178.0 million (-$4.60 per share), including non-cash pre-tax charges of $97.0 million for inventory impairments and abandonment of land option contracts, $13.8 million for impairments in joint ventures and $16.1 million for goodwill impairments. The results also included a non-cash deferred tax valuation allowance of $52.8 million and a pre-tax gain on extinguishment of debt of $144.5 million. For the prior fiscal year, the Company reported a loss from continuing operations of $800.8 million (-$20.77 per share). Beazer also cut land and land development spending in fiscal 2009, which totaled $198.8 million, compared to $333.4 million in fiscal 2008.
"During the quarter, we experienced some moderation in negative market trends, with attractive interest rates, historically high housing affordability and the federal tax credit attracting more prospective buyers to purchase a new home," said Ian J. McCarthy, CEO and president. "Nonetheless, elevated unemployment and rising foreclosure activity make it difficult to predict when and to what extent the housing market will sustainably recover."
Shares of Beazer shot up at market open Tuesday on heavy volume and were trading up more than 10% at $5.20 by mid-morning amid a flat broader market and mixed performance among the rest of the builder group.