Homebuilder Hovnanian 4Q Earnings Up 24%

Red Bank, NJ, December 8, 2005-–Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises reported fourth quarter earnings that increased 24 percent on strong home sales, even as predictions of a housing slowdown mounted. The company's net income rose to $165.4 million, or $2.53 per share, verses $133.8 million, or $2.06 per share in the fourth quarter of 2004. Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.42 per share. Revenue rose 26 percent to $1.77 billion, from $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2004, as both the dollar value and number of contracts increased. The company, which builds and finances homes in 17 states, continues to expect profit of $8.05 to $8.40 per share for fiscal year 2006, with plans to deliver more than 22,000 homes. Analysts have projected profit of $8.39 per share for that time frame. Company Chief Executive Ara Hovnanian said fourth-quarter results would have been even better had Hurricane Wilma not disrupted homebuilding in Florida. "We believe we are well-positioned with a sound business model that will allow us to continue to thrive even in a less robust housing market," he said in a prepared statement. For fiscal 2005, the company posted net income of $469.1 million, or $7.16 per share, up 35 percent from 2004. Revenue for 2005 rose 29 percent to $5.3 billion.