Bellway slashed its dividend by more than 80% as falling house prices and volumes hit revenues and forced it to write down the value of its land bank.

However, the house builder said that progress in its debt reduction programme and its focus on inventory reduction would continue to strengthen its cash position.

Analysts were cheered by the news, which they said made an emergency rights issue unlikely.

Bank borrowings at Bellway totalled £179m at the end of January, down £40m since July, and net debt was £199m, resulting in gearing of 21%.

Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph