Ryland profit in '99 rose 66%

quarter also is record

January 28, 2000|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

The Ryland Group Inc. reported record results yesterday for its fourth quarter and the year.

The Columbia-based homebuilder said net income for the three months that ended Dec. 31 was $20.8 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, 18 percent higher than the $17.6 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, posted in the fourth quarter a year earlier.

Ryland's earnings in the quarter beat the $1.36 average forecast of four analysts surveyed by Zack's Investment Research.

Homebuilding revenue in the quarter was $582.3 million, a 10.7 percent gain from the $525.8 million in the comparable period in 1998. Total revenue was $595.6 million compared with $541.1 million a year earlier.

Ryland, which is moving its headquarters to California this summer, posted net income of $66.7 million for the year, up 66 percent from $40.3 million for 1998. Earnings per diluted share were $4.30 vs. $2.58 in 1998.

Homebuilding revenue for the year rose 16 percent to $1.96 billion from $1.69 billion.

"Our record results are testimony to the success of our strategies and clearly point to Ryland's continued growth and improved performance throughout our operations," said R. Chad Dreier, chairman, president and chief executive, in a statement.

The company reported record fourth-quarter and full-year closing volume of 2,966 and 10,193 homes, respectively.

"This company continues to outpace the overall industry," said R. Bentley Offutt, an analyst with Offutt Securities in Hunt Valley.

The fourth-quarter and yearly earnings are "the fulfillment of several years of efforts to transition their locations from the mid-Atlantic region and Southern California to regions where there is greater growth, such as the Southwest and the Midwest," he said.

Ryland's quarterly homebuilding pretax earnings totaled $36.7 million, compared with the $34.3 million it generated from home sales a year earlier.

Ryland reported that its gross profit margins from home sales -- a key industry gauge of performance -- declined to 16.9 percent, from 17.2 percent a year ago. The company's stock closed yesterday at $17.875, up $1.6875.

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