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Beazer Posts Loss, Withdraws Forecast Citing Lack of Visibility

Beazer Homes reported a substantial loss in its fiscal second quarter as sales fell sharply from the same quarter a year ago due to weakness in the U.S. housing market. The company also withdrew its full-year earnings guidance.

But excluding certain one-time items, Beazer reported an unexpected profit, while sales were much stronger than market expectations.

Beazer reported a net loss of $43.1 million, or $1.12 a share, for the three months ended March, down from earnings of $104.4 million, or $2.35 a share, in the same quarter a year ago. Revenues were to $826.3 million, down from $1.27 million in the year-ago period.

Excluding charges for inventory impairments, impairments of investments in joint ventures and abandonment of land option contracts, adjusted net income was $11.2 million, or 30 cents per diluted share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial predicted a loss of 14 cents a share on revenues of $684 million.

"Most housing markets across the country continue to experience lower levels of demand coupled with higher levels of inventory, resulting in increased competition and continued significant discounting," Beazer President and CEO Ian J. McCarthy said in a press release. "While we were pleased with the level of new orders we achieved this quarter, at this point in the traditional spring selling season we still have yet to see any meaningful evidence of a sustainable recovery in the housing market, and we expect current conditions will continue to put pressure on homebuilders' operating results."

The company also said that given "low visibility as to when conditions may improve" it is not comfortable at this time updating its earnings-per-share outlook for fiscal 2007.

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