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KB Home reports 20% earnings drop in fourth quarter

KB Home sells fewer homes in areas that yield higher profits, leading to 20% drop in fourth-quarter earnings. But new orders are up, chief executive says.

December 22, 2011|By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
  • Los Angeles-based KB Home reported a 20% drop in earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter.
Los Angeles-based KB Home reported a 20% drop in earnings in its fiscal fourth… (Tony Gutierrez, Associated…)

Los Angeles home builder KB Home reported a 20% drop in earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter compared with a year earlier as the company sold fewer homes in areas that yield higher profits, usually more affluent neighborhoods.

But net new orders for homes grew 38% and gave the company its biggest year-end backlog since 2008, Chief Executive Jeffrey Mezger said Wednesday.

"We believe these results demonstrate our success in adapting to current market realities and positioning our business for the future," Mezger said.

The company posted net income of $13.9 million, or 18 cents a share, for the three months ended Nov. 30, compared with $17.4 million, or 23 cents, during last year's fourth quarter.

Quarterly revenue rose 6% to $479.9 million from the previous year's final quarter sales of $451 million.

Overall, net orders increased 1,494 in the quarter from 1,085 for the year-earlier quarter. That gave KBHome a backlog of 2,156 homes at the end of November, up from 1,336 a year earlier.

For the year, the company's loss widened to $178.8 million, or $2.32 a share, from the previous year's loss of $69.4 million, or 90 cents a share. Annual revenue fell 19% to $1.3 billion from $1.6 billion.

Shares tumbled 52 cents, or 6.7% Wednesday, to $7.22.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

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