(By Balachander) Homebuilder Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) reported a jump in quarterly earnings, helped by sharp rise in revenue, increased deliveries and stronger gross margins.
Earnings were $124.3 million or $0.56 per share for the fourth quarter, compared with $30.3 million or $0.16 per share in the comparable period of last year.
Revenue surged 42 percent to $1.3 billion, with revenue from home sales up 41 percent.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected earnings of $0.44 per share on revenue of $1.31 billion for the three months ended November.
"Our fourth quarter reflects the recovery in housing with solid profitability in all of our business segments," commented CEO Stuart Miller. "Our homebuilding machine continues to improve and be our primary driver of profitability, fueled by our opportunistic land acquisitions and increasing operating leverage due to higher absorption per community and overall deliveries."
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Deliveries and new orders each jumped 32 percent, respectively.
Gross margin expanded 410 basis points to 23.5 percent and operating margin improved 660 basis points to 12.2 percent.
The company reported backlog of 4,053 homes, up 87 percent.
Revenue from Lennar financial services rose 68 percent and fell nearly 23.6 percent at Rialto Investments segment.
Last month, KB Home (NYSE: KBH) reported a lower profit for the fourth quarter, though the homebuilder's revenue grew in double digits, spurred by a rise in the number of homes delivered and a higher average
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LEN shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range of $21.33 to $42.00, ended at $41.02 on Monday.