Hovnanian Enterprises reported a profit in its first quarter, thanks to a tax refund. With no government checks expected in its second fiscal quarter which ended April 30, no industry watchers are predicting a second profitable quarter when the company announces results at market close today, June 2.
Analyst consensus is a loss of $0.64 a share, with the lowest prediction a -$1.22 loss and the highest -$0.38.
Hovnanian's hurdles are higher than many other builders. It's SG&A costs were 18.5% of revenue last quarter. It also is one of the most highly leveraged large public builders, which makes it difficult to pull off large land purchases.
Building more houses with higher returns is seen as the company's road back to profitability. To do that it needs to buy lower priced land that it can build on quickly. That has sent the company on a land-buying quest.
Last quarter it spent $77 million on roughly 2,100 lots, 1,550 of them new land and the rest take downs of previously held options. That boosted the company's controlled lot count to 28,433.
During an earnings call on Thursday morning, June 3, management is expected to report how successful it's most recent quarter's land hunt was. Last quarter CEO Ara Hovnanian said the company was having success netting smaller lot deals that would be absorbed in 1.5 to 2 years. Small deals hold an advantage for the company because it eliminates the need to find a partner to finance them.