Bovis bovvered?

It’s not been a good few weeks for Bovis – in terms of PR anyway.  Volume housebuilders don’t seem to have many admirers in the press generally.  They issued a profits warning a few weeks ago.  It was basically along the lines of “Our profitability is going to be really high rather than really, really high”.  However, the explanation hinted at operational production problems at the company rather than any market issue.    Then, last Saturday, there was a large piece in the Guardian (literally in a few examples) exposing lots of defects in lots of Bovis’ newly built homes and pressure for buyers to complete their purchases before the end of the financial year – and, er, before the houses themselves were actually  complete.  It seems like a blend of an overextended, under-skilled workforce and sheer management brute force to meet Stock Market end-of-year expectations and targets.  There’s also been a growing mini-scandal about the house builders trying to increase their profit margins by selling leasehold rather than freehold interests in dwellings for which there is no rationale – apart from profit – for selling a leasehold interest.  As ever, Merryn Somerset-Webb has a very good piece on the whole issue in Saturday’s FT.

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