Ryland Profit Increases 31%

From Reuters

Ryland Group Inc., one of the nation's biggest home builders, reported a 31% increase in third-quarter profit Wednesday. The Calabasas company also announced a 2-for-1 stock split and raised its quarterly dividend 20%.

Ryland said it earned $83 million, or $3.32 a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, up from $63.3 million, or $2.40, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, were expecting profit of $3.29 a share.

Revenue rose to $1.03 billion, up 19% from a year earlier.

Looking ahead, Ryland issued guidance for 2005 for the first time, saying it expected earnings to exceed $14 a share. Analysts had forecast $13.25.

The stock split will apply to shareholders of record on Nov. 15 and will be distributed Nov. 30. The dividend will rise to 12 cents a share from 10 cents.

Ryland reported after the markets closed. In regular trading, shares rose $1.35 to $87.35 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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