Centex Corp. (NYSE:CTX), Dallas, on Tuesday after market close reported a net loss of $402.76 million (-$3.24 per share) for its fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31 on impairments, write-downs and charges of $390 million and a 64% drop in revenues to $823.2 million. The loss missed the Wall Street consensus estimate of a loss of $1.27 by a wide margin but was still much narrower than the $910.5 million loss in comparable quarter in 2008. Shares of Centex dropped 3.5% to $11.30 in after-hours trading shortly after 6 p.m. after having been up marginally in heavy trading on the NYSE.
For the 2009 fiscal year, the net loss was $1.39 billion, roughly half the loss posted in fiscal 2008. Fiscal year 2009's revenues were $3.83 billion, 54% lower than the $8.28 billion recorded in fiscal year 2008. The loss from continuing operations for fiscal year 2009 was $1.44 billion, or a loss of$11.58 per diluted share. The operating loss was primarily the result of$1.12 billion of impairments and write-offs and $81 million of severance and lease abandonment charges. For fiscal year 2008, the loss from continuing operations was $2.66 billion or a loss of $21.71 per diluted share.
Home building revenues for the quarter were $791 million, 65% lower than the same quarter last year, as a result of a 54% decrease in closings to 3,293 homes and an 11% decrease in average sales price to $238,283. New orders fell 58% to 2,843. Community count was down 22.2% to 484.Homes in backlog decreased 46% to 4,178 with dollar value down 50% to $999.3 million.
The company cut its SG&A by 49% or $129 million compared to last year's fourth quarter and ended the period with $1.77 billion in cash and cash equivalents. Gross margin was up to 9.9% from 7.9% during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2008. It reduced its total owned and controlled lot count by 27% to 64,334 lots, with owned lots down 18.4% to 57,289.
"Housing markets remained challenged throughout the quarter, with the positives of historic affordability and low interest rates offset by rising foreclosures and high resale inventories," said Timothy R. Eller, chairman and CEO in a statement, "In this environment, Centex achieved a steady sales pace and maintained a consistent, healthy backlog. We are well-positioned in areas of relative strength: Centex serves the first-time and first move-up homebuyer, we have a meaningful presence in relatively healthy housing markets and approximately half of our active lot position is fully developed."
He added, "The previously announced combination with Pulte continues to progress as expected, and we still anticipate the closing to be in the third calendar quarter of this year."