Homebuilder Update [Housing Tracker]

Includes: CHB, OHB, WCIM
by: Judy Weil

Seeking Alpha's Housing Tracker is a collection of housing-related excerpts from various sources, grouped by topic. Feel free to post any interesting links on the subject in the comments section below.

Homebuilder Stocks

U.S. Department Of Labor Announces Grant Exceeding $500,000 To Assist Trade-Affected Workers In Oregon. “The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $524,420 grant to assist approximately 75 workers affected by the closure of the Redman Homes plant, a subsidiary of Champion Enterprises Inc. (CHB) in Silverton, Ore. "Today's grant will provide services and training to help these Oregon workers affected by the downturn of the housing industry return to work as quickly as possible," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Brent R. Orrell.” (Press Release, Oct. 6) 

WCI Looks To Sell Property. “As it looks to get out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, WCI Communities Inc. (WCI.PK) hopes this week to get approval from a judge to sell a 22-unit condominium in the Pelican Preserve neighborhood in Fort Myers for $3.52 million. The Bonita Springs-based luxury homebuilder inked the deal with a Scottish real estate company before it filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 4. The interested buyer is Southern Caledonian Properties Ltd.” (Naples News, Oct. 5)

M/I Homes: Common Share Price Perplexing. “M/I Homes' common shares (MHO) have been a floating fortress… As of their June filing, their cash on hand was $2M while long term debt stood at $274M. YTD, the common is up 115%; while the preferred (MHO-A) is essentially flat and trading at about one-half its redemption value.  Their bonds are also trading at a 20% discount to par and 13% lower than their first print in January… They’ve suspended dividend payments on both the preferred and the common due to noncompliance on their senior debt covenants.  Two months ago, the company filed for an additional dilution of $250M… To date, they haven’t been able to find any buyers for the new paper.  Their chairman and CEO, R. Shottenstein, sold $1.25M worth of shares since May. The author is short MHO.” (A.M. Steinbeck in Seeking Alpha, Oct. 2)

Orleans Trumpets Improved Balance Sheet. “Orleans Homebuilders' (OHB) balance sheet looked sturdier at fiscal 2008 year-end than last year despite a net loss of $143.4 million… A debt pay down of $53 million during its fiscal 4Q2008 led to a net debt reduction of $119 million for the year. Management [obtained] a recent two-part deal with its lenders to amend financial covenants related to its $585M revolving credit facility. The amendment reduced the size of the revolver by 25% to $440M and extended its maturity date by a year to December 2009, as well as eliminated several financial covenants related to leverage, debt serviceability, and units in inventory. Moreover, it decreased minimum liquidity, cash flow coverage, and tangible net worth requirements.” (Big Builder Online, Oct. 2)

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