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Standard Pacific's net income soars in 4Q

Alex Veiga, AP Real Estate Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Standard Pacific Corp.'s net income soared in the fourth quarter, as the homebuilder recognized a hefty tax benefit and revenue jumped 43 percent fueled by completed home sales.

President and CEO Scott Stowell said Thursday that the housing market recovery is real and continued to drive solid demand in January.

"We are off to a good start on what we expect to be a strong 2013," Stowell said in a statement.

Standard Pacific, which builds homes in seven states, said it completed the sale of 973 homes in the fourth quarter, an increase of 24 percent from the last three months of 2011. Orders for new homes jumped 60 percent to 983.

The company ended the year with a backlog of 1,404 homes under contract, more than double its year-end backlog in 2011. Backlog is a key indicator of potential revenue.

The builder also saw the average sale price of its homes rise 4 percent in the quarter to $388,000.

Standard Pacific is one of several major homebuilders this week that have strong annual gains in sales for the last three months of 2012. The results reflect easy comparisons against soft sales figures in 2011, as well as a housing market recovery that is gradually gaining momentum.

The improved sales trends helped drive Standard Pacific's revenue to $419.8 million, up from $293.2 million a year earlier, boosting the company's net income.

But Standard Pacific also got a big lift from a one-time tax benefit of $454 million stemming from the reversal of a portion of the company's deferred tax valuation allowance.

All told, the builder reported net income of $286.8 million, or $1.22 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with net income of $8.7 million, or 4 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding the impact of the tax benefit, Standard Pacific's earnings amounted to 8 cents per share.

Analysts' consensus forecast called for earnings of 7 cents per share on $377.5 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

For all of 2012, Standard Pacific earned $306.6 million, or $1.44 per share, compared with a loss of $9.3 million, or 5 cents per share, in 2011. Full-year revenue grew to $1.24 billion from about $883 million.

Standard Pacific shares ended regular trading down 16 cents at $8.30. In aftermarket trading following the release of the quarterly results, the stock added 30 cents to $8.60. Through Thursday's close, the shares are up 13 percent so far this year.