Toll Brothers 4Q loss narrows, no 2009 forecast

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Toll Brothers Inc. said Thursday its fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed slightly as it took fewer write-downs on land values, but warned that fiscal 2009 revenue will fall significantly below 2008 levels.

The Horsham, Pa.-based luxury home builder said the economic environment is too uncertain to be able to further forecast fiscal 2009 results.

For the quarter ended Oct. 31, losses totaled $78.8 million, or 49 cents per share, including $175.9 million worth of pretax write-downs. That's slightly better than the year-ago loss of $81.8 million, or 52 cents, on $314.9 million write-downs.

Excluding items, profit totaled 23 cents per share.

Revenue fell to $698.9 million from $1.17 billion a year ago, slightly above the preliminary sales results of $691 million Toll issued last month.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 46 cents per share on revenue of $681.4 million.

The company said it ended fiscal 2008 with more than $1.63 billion in cash and over $1.32 billion available under its 32-bank credit facility, which matures in March 2011. Toll said it has no public debt due until its 2011 second quarter.

Net signed contracts for the quarter slid 27 percent to $266.7 million from $365.3 million, while backlog dropped 54 percent to $1.33 billion from $2.85 billion. The cancellation rate dipped to 30.2 percent from 38.9 percent last year, but rose from 19.4 percent in the third quarter.

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