Centex Corp swung to a quarterly profit, thanks to an income-tax benefit, while Pulte Homes posted a wider loss as the two home builders looked ahead to their planned merger.

Centex, which focuses on lower-cost homes for first-time buyers, and Pulte, best known for its 'active adult' communities, are set to become the largest US home builder once Pulte's $1.4bn acquisition of Centex is complete. On Monday, Pulte said the deal is on track to be wrapped up by the third quarter, with a shareholder vote scheduled for Aug 18.

Pulte reported a second-quarter loss of $189.5m, or 74 cents a share, compared with a loss of $158.4m, or 63 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue slumped 58% to $678.6m from $1.62bn.

Pulte's latest results included $119.3m in impairment and land-related charges, while year-earlier results included $220.1 million in similar charges, offset somewhat by a $56.8m tax benefit.

Wall Street Journal