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ATLANTA-Beazer Homes USA Inc., annually ranked as one of the top 10 residential developers in the country, has ended its third fiscal quarter June 30 showing numbers only a builder and his banker could love.

Earnings per diluted share are $3.01, up 16% from the prior year; total revenue is $772 million, up 4%; net income is $40.7 million, up 17%; and all-time record new orders of 4,734 homes are 12%.

“We ended the June 2003 quarter with one of our strongest balance sheets ever,” says David S. Weiss, executive vice president and CFO. The single-family and townhomes developer improved its ratio of debt to total capitalization from 50% to 44%.

“This performance demonstrates how we have both grown the business and generated positive cash flow from operations over the past year,” Weiss says. The company ended the quarter with cash on hand of $15.35 million versus $5.68 million in third quarter 2002.

Beazer also had a record backlog of 8,578 homes, up 12%. The backlog is valued at $1.8 billion, up 23% over the prior year’s period.

“These increases were achieved on an increase of 7% in our number of active subdivisions during the quarter, relative to the same quarter of the prior year,” says Beazer president and CEO Ian J. McCarthy. “Our increasing sales velocity and the strength of our backlog are the best leading indicators of future growth in earnings.”

“We now feel optimistic in our prospects for exceeding our prior earnings-per-share target of $12.25 for fiscal 2003,” he adds. The company is raising its EPS target to a range of $12.25 to $12.50 per share, including the 34-cent charge the company recorded this quarter for the early retirement of its debt.

Weiss says “during the quarter, we further improved our financial position by renegotiating and extending the term on our $250 million revolving credit facility and our $200 million, four-year term loan, which we increased from our prior $100 million term loan.”

The proceeds were used to retire Beazer’s $100 million, 8 7/8% senior notes due in 2008. “This refinancing will result in interest savings of $6 million per year, based upon current interest rates,” Weiss says.

The early retirement of the debt cost the company a one-time balance sheet charge of $7.6 million, or 34 cents per share after taxes “to reflect the costs of retiring our debt, including the write off of previously capitalized fees.”

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