Brookfield Residential profit soars to US$120 million fourth quarter

CALGARY – Brookfield Residential Properties Inc. (TSX:BRP) says improved gross margin percentages helped propel the North American land developer and homebuilder to big increases in both fourth-quarter and full-year profits.

The company, whose shareholders are to vote next month on an offer by parent Brookfield Asset Management (TSX:BAM.A) to take it private, said net income in the three months ended Dec. 31 was US$120 million or $1.03 per diluted share. That was up sharply from US$79 million or 67 cents per diluted share in the same 2013 period.

Revenue increased six per cent to US$591 million from US$555 million.

Land revenue in the quarter was US$149 million, up US$3 million, mainly the result of higher single family lot revenue amid a 31 per cent increase in average selling prices, partially offset by 271 fewer lot closings.

Housing revenue increased to US$442 million from $409 million for the same period in 2013 due to increased average home selling prices, the mix of product sold across all operating segments and marginally higher home closings.

For the full year, net earnings were US$274 million or $2.33 per dilute share on total revenue of US$1.477 billion, compared with net earnings for all of 2013 of US$142 million or $1.21 per diluted share on US$1.36 billion of revenue.

President and CEO Alan Norris said the overall gross margin percentage for the year had increased to 30 per cent from 28 per cent in 2013.

“We anticipate continued recovery in the U.S. housing market,” Norris said, adding that recently announced changes to lending standards and the proposed reduction in FHA premiums should help further stimulate activity in the U.S. market.

“In Canada, the unknown in 2015 relates to the impact of declining commodity prices on the housing market. We believe the rapid decline in oil prices could present challenges for the energy-driven Alberta market. Elsewhere however, we believe the overall impact of lower oil and gas prices could prove to be positive for both the Canadian and U.S. consumer and therefore, the homebuilding industry.”

A special meeting of Brookfield Residential shareholders is scheduled for March 10 to consider and vote on the offer of $24.25 per share in cash by Brookfield Asset, an increase over its original offer of $23 per share on Oct. 23 for the 30.6 per cent of share it did not already own. The revised offer is a 25 per cent premium to the 30-day volume weight average of Brookfield Residential shares prior to the offer.