HOV BOOSTS REVENUE, SHRINKS LOSS

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises notched a 6.7-percent sales gain in the first fiscal quarter from a year ago, the company reported Tuesday morning.

The closely-held publicly traded company continued to lose money in the quarter, but narrowed the loss to $18.3 million, down from $64.14 million a year ago, it said in an announcement.

The net loss marked the 21st time in the last 22 quarters that Hovnanian, New Jersey’s largest homebuilder, has failed to generate a profit.

From the announcement:

“We were very pleased with the 27% year-over-year growth in net contracts, the 28% year-over-year increase in backlog and the 100 basis point sequential improvement in gross margin during our first quarter,” commented Ara K. Hovnanian, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Additionally, the spring selling season is off to a good start in February 2012, with 38% year-over-year growth in net contracts and home prices remained relatively stable throughout the first quarter. We are hopeful that these positive trends continue throughout the spring selling season,” concluded Mr. Hovnanian.