NAPLES, Fla., July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ —
Dear Fellow PulteGroup Shareholders:
While it is unfortunate that it took my actions – and one of the world’s leading activists – to drive value at PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM) over the last several months, I am encouraged by the initial shareholder victories that were announced today, and I look forward to ensuring PulteGroup’s management and Board remain focused on growth of the business as well as accountable to all shareholders for the benefit of the long term viability of our company.
While much work remains to be done in order for a successful outcome, the Board appears to be taking the first steps towards enacting change and addressing the protracted poor share price performance. While I wish we could have avoided an unnecessary public dispute, I am pleased that my direct involvement was the catalyst for significant positive change, including an accelerated CEO transition, a refreshed Board of Directors with new home building experience and operational expertise, better utilization of the balance sheet, a less aggressive land purchase strategy, and a commitment to reverse the negative and persistent trends in SG&A.
There is work to be done, as evidenced by our competitor, DR Horton’s, earnings results this morning. For example, year over year for the quarter, PulteGroup only earned an incremental $22 million of pretax earnings despite an increase of $520 million of revenue; on the other hand, DR Horton made double the incremental earnings of $45 million on only $281 million of additional revenue year over year for the quarter. Poor operating trends like these tell me there is much to be desired in the operating performance of PulteGroup, where SG&A was up an astonishing $62 million for the quarter, year over year. The Company has said that operating leverage will come with increasing volumes, and I hope that the Company can start to deliver on those statements.
I believe that the significant cost problems at PulteGroup are related to its often semi-custom approach in a production environment. While I will provide more commentary on this subject at a later date, I am convinced that the Company’s current floor plans and lack of attention to each buyer group is hurting profitability. If PulteGroup wants to be a very profitable builder, it has to start to realize operating efficiencies. I learned many of these mistakes in the 1960s and never repeated it again.
Given the positive change that we have driven at the company over the last four months, I am hopeful that the PulteGroup Board’s willingness to listen to shareholders will continue to create value for all stakeholders.
To summarize the progress made since my involvement on April 4, 2016:
After these initial victories for fellow shareholders, I continue to see opportunities for improvement at PulteGroup in the following 5 areas:
I am pleased by the developments announced today and look forward to continuing to ensure management and the Board remain responsive to all of the company’s shareholders in an effort to drive value.
William J. Pulte
Founder & Largest Shareholder
July 21, 2016
SOURCE William J. Pulte