Crest Nicholson profits rise 40 pERCENT

LONDON (Reuters) - British housebuilder Crest Nicholson , which returned to the stock market in February last year, posted a 40 percent rise in full-year pretax profit on Tuesday and said its sales position at mid-January was strong.

The company, whose shares are trading about 40 percent higher since it raised 225 million pounds ($372.91 million) in its listing, has been one of the big beneficiaries from a government push to help Britons purchase homes which has boosted buyer sentiment across the wider housing market.

Crest Nicholson said pretax profits for the year to October 31 rose to 80.9 million pounds, from 62.1 million pounds, against a 29 percent increase in revenues to 525.7 million pounds.

Analysts had expected the company to post full year profits between 79-86 million pounds, on revenues between 486-521 million pounds, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The company said it completed 2,172 homes over the year, up 15 percent, and the sales it generated per outlet each week were up 34 percent at 0.9. Its forward sales - homes sales that have been reserved with deposits - at mid-January was 329.5 million pounds, 51 percent ahead of the prior year.

It proposed to pay a final dividend of 6.5 pence per share.

"As consumer sentiment and credit availability have improved, constraints on growth are increasingly determined by the supply chain, the shelf-life of mortgage offers and the planning process," Chairman William Rucker said.

"Nonetheless, the trading environment is healthy and we look forward to continuing to deliver in 2014."

Shares in the company closed at 352.2 pence on Monday, valuing it at 880 million pounds.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Kate Holton)