HOV stock continues to attract buying interest on December 6, 2019, after the company reported solid earnings and revenue on December 5, 2019.

On December 5, 2019, Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: HOV), a leading national homebuilder, reported results for its fiscal fourth quarter and year ended October 31, 2019. The company reported a loss of 30c per share on revenue $713.6M for the quarter. Despite a $42M loss on the extinguishment of debt, pretax income was roughly break-even. Total revenues increased 16.1% to $713.6M in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, compared with $614.8M in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. For the year ended October 31, total revenues increased to $2.02B compared with $1.99B in the same period during the prior fiscal year.

Total revenues increased 16.1% to $713.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, compared with $614.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. For the year ended October 31, 2019, total revenues increased to $2.02 billion compared with $1.99 billion in the same period during the prior fiscal year.

Homebuilding gross margin percentage, after cost of sales interest expense and land charges, was 14.5% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with 16.5% during the prior year’s fourth quarter. For the year ended October 31, 2019, homebuilding gross margin percentage, after cost of sales interest expense and land charges, was 14.2% compared with 15.2% last year.

Homebuilding gross margin percentage, before cost of sales interest expense and land charges, was 18.9% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with 19.2% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Sequentially, on the same basis, gross margin increased 50 basis points from 18.4% in the third quarter of fiscal 2019. For fiscal 2019, homebuilding gross margin percentage, before cost of sales interest expense and land charges, was 18.1% compared with 18.4% in the previous fiscal year.

Total SG&A was $53.9 million, or 7.6% of total revenues, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared `with $50.8 million, or 8.3% of total revenues, in the same quarter one year ago. For fiscal 2019, total SG&A was $233.1 million, or 11.6% of total revenues, compared with $228.8 million, or 11.5% of total revenues, in the prior fiscal year.

Interest incurred (some of which was expensed and some of which was capitalized) was $43.6 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with $39.4 million in the same quarter one year ago. For the year ended October 31, 2019, interest incurred (some of which was expensed and some of which was capitalized) was $165.9 million compared with $161.0 million last year.

Income from unconsolidated joint ventures was $8.4 million for the quarter ended October 31, 2019 compared with $17.1 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year. For fiscal 2019, income from unconsolidated joint ventures was $28.9 million compared with $24.0 million in the same period a year ago.

Including a $42.4 million loss on early extinguishment of debt, loss before income taxes for the quarter ended October 31, 2019 was $0.6 million compared with income of $48.1 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. For fiscal 2019, the loss before income taxes was $39.7 million compared with income of $8.1 million during same period of fiscal 2018.

Income before income taxes excluding land-related charges, joint venture write-downs and loss on extinguishment of debt, was $44.5 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with income before these items of $50.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. For fiscal 2019, income before income taxes, excluding land-related charges, joint venture write-downs and loss on extinguishment of debt, was $9.9 million compared with income before these items of $20.4 million during all of fiscal 2018.

Net loss was $1.8 million, or $0.30 per common share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with net income of $46.2 million, or $7.75 per common share, during the same quarter a year ago. For fiscal 2019, net loss was $42.1 million, or $7.06 per common share, compared with net income of $4.5 million, or $0.73 per common share, in the same period during fiscal 2018.

Consolidated contracts per community increased 15.9% to 9.5 contracts per community for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with 8.2 contracts per community in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Contracts per community, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures(1), increased 9.6% to 9.1 contracts per community for the quarter ended October 31, 2019 compared with 8.3 contracts per community, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures, in last year’s fourth quarter.

The consolidated community count was 141 as of October 31, 2019. This was a 14.6% year-over-year increase from 123 communities at the end of the prior year’s fourth quarter. As of the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, community count, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures, was 162 communities. This was a 14.1% year-over-year increase compared with 142 communities at October 31, 2018.

The number of consolidated contracts increased 34.0% to 1,345 homes, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, compared with 1,004 homes during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. The number of contracts, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures, for the fourth quarter ended October 31, 2019, increased 25.9% to 1,479 homes from 1,175 homes for the same quarter last year.

The number of consolidated contracts increased 14.3% to 5,340 homes, during the year ended October 31, 2019, compared with 4,671 homes in the previous fiscal year. During all of fiscal 2019, the number of contracts, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures, was 5,976 homes, an increase of 7.8% from 5,543 homes during the same period in fiscal 2018.

For November 2019, consolidated contracts per community were 2.9 compared with 2.2 for the same month one year ago. During November 2019, the number of consolidated contracts increased 41.8% to 404 homes from 285 homes in November 2018.

The dollar value of consolidated contract backlog, as of October 31, 2019, increased 18.0% to $880.1 million compared with $745.6 million as of October 31, 2018. The dollar value of contract backlog, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures, as of October 31, 2019, was $1.04 billion, an increase of 6.7% compared with $976.3 million as of October 31, 2018.

Consolidated deliveries were 1,709 homes for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, a 16.7% increase compared with 1,465 homes during the same quarter a year ago. For the quarter ended October 31, 2019, deliveries, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures, increased 6.8% to 1,941 homes compared with 1,818 homes during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018.

Consolidated deliveries were 4,946 homes in all of fiscal 2019, a 2.0% increase compared with 4,847 homes in the same period in fiscal 2018. For the year ended October 31, 2019, deliveries, including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures, decreased slightly to 5,713 homes compared with 5,758 homes in the same period of the prior fiscal year.

The contract cancellation rate for consolidated contracts was 21% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with 23% for the same quarter one year ago. The contract cancellation rate for contracts including domestic unconsolidated joint ventures was 22% for both the three months ended October 31, 2019 and the same quarter in fiscal 2018.

“The fourth quarter was illustrative of our efforts towards achieving our growth strategy. We experienced solid double-digit percentage gains in deliveries, total revenues, community count, contracts, backlog and contracts per community,” stated Ara K. Hovnanian, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our adjusted pretax profit of $45 million for the quarter beat consensus estimates and made us profitable on this basis for the full year. Our increased level of revenues and the resultant lower SG&A expense ratio for the fourth quarter demonstrate the benefits of leveraging our SG&A expenses with higher revenues. We are encouraged by the current housing environment and economic backdrop which we believe should allow us to execute on our objectives.”

J. Larry Sorsby, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President commented, “During the fourth quarter, we took steps to significantly improve our capital structure and better position the Company to execute on our growth strategy. We successfully exchanged or refinanced over $800 million of debt. We eliminated all maturities until 2022 and pushed out over 50% of the debt maturing in 2022 and 2024. Additionally, we simplified the capital structure by creating a single collateral pool for all secured debt holders. The long-term benefits of extending our debt maturities far outweighed the short-term impact of the $42 million charge for the early extinguishment of debt. At the end of the fourth quarter, we had $276 million of liquidity, which enables us to continue to invest in new land to further our community count, revenues and profitability growth in the future.”

On December 6, 2019, Buckingham analyst Megan McGrath raised her price target for Hovnanian to $27 from $24 based on “solid” Q4 results and higher FY20 earnings expectations. McGrath tells investors in a research note that she expects the company’s near-term focus to remain on growing its community count and revenue base rather than debt reduction. The analyst maintains a Neutral rating, saying she sees near-term risk in slowing growth, as these easy comps ease in mid-2020 and as Hovnanian’s ability to continue to grow community count could be challenged as it delivers on the strong 2019 orders.

Alert price is $26.47.

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