Housebuilder Abbey has reported pre-tax profits of €5.95m for the six months to the end of October.

This is up the pre-tax profit figure of €3.35m the same time last year. Revenues rose to €44.57m from €33.24m.

The company said its housebuilding division completed 157 sales in the six month period. It sold 134 in the UK, 21 in Ireland and two in the Czech Republic.

Abbey said that in Ireland sales and rentals on its legacy sites ''have progressed''. 

Its project in Kilcoole has continued to perform well, while a new site in Shankill in Co Dublin was bought for development and is set to start in the New Year.

It said that trading in the UK was ''satisfactory'' but described its performance in the Czech Republic as ''disappointing''. But the company said that some progress has been made in recent weeks and a better result is expected in the second quarter.

The company's UK plant hire business, M&J Engineers, generated operating profits of 691,000 on turnover of 7.13m. Abbey said this was a good improvement on last year but year on year comparisons are now more demanding and recent trading has become more challenging.

Abbey has declared a dividend of three cents per share which along with the five cents approved at the company's AGM will make a total of eight cents for the financial year.

Abbey Chairman Charles Gallagher said that the immediate outlook for the company remains difficult.

He said that UK house prices remain stable at best and competition for profitable opportunities is intense.

''The group is striving to increase its land bank and hopes to be able to report some progress in the periods ahead. Overall a reasonable outcome for the year is in prospect,'' he added.

Abbey shares closed up 19 points (3%) at €6.50 on the Iseq this evening.