A year of growth & progress

Financial Operational
Revenue €337.0m (2017: €149.5m)
Gross profit/gross margin €69.1m/20.5% (2017: €27.1m/18.2%)
Operating profit €53.2m (2017: €14.5m)
INVENTORIES €933.4m (2017: €911.5m)
ADJUSTED EPS 4.4 cent (2017: 0.7 cent)
OPERATING CASH FLOW €40.1m (2017: (€128.6m))
NET DEBT €134.4m (2017: €159.4m)
Mature Business Active on 13 sites – 5,000 new homes 5 upcoming site commencements Talented and experienced homebuilding team
Quality & location driving sales demand Selling on 9 sites – 5 sales launches planned Strong sales rates – 2.8 units per active site per week House price inflation c. 4.5%
Enhancing Inherent Land Value 2,106 units granted planning in 2018 Total planning gains – 3,000 units 15,100 unit land bank
Operational Efficiencies Procurement advantage through scale Established subcontractor base Off-site manufacturing 2.75% build cost inflation
Land Acquisition Strategy No large sites acquired Focused on more strategic opportunities
Cash Generation Significant free cash flow and expected €550 million share premium conversion underpinning capital returns First dividend to be announced in September 2019 Land bank to normalise to c. 6-7 year supply

Chairman's statement

"I am pleased to report that 2018 was another year of strong growth and development in your Company with substantial increases in construction activity, revenue and profitability achieved."

Be the most trusted, respected and safest home builder in Ireland

Respect and trust are hard won and easily lost, so we do everything in our power to earn both by consistently living our values and treating our customers, staff and partners with respect.

We value everyone who is helping us to achieve our mission and consider their well-being to be of paramount importance. Health and safety is our number one priority and this is reflected in our culture and practices.

We are confident that our integrity and hard work are building a Company that we can all be proud to be a part of now and in the future.

Building in great locations to create places and homes where people love to live.

Our mission is what guides us throughout the homebuilding process; from acquisitions to after-sales we keep the customer in mind and work hard to create places where they will enjoy a great quality of life.

It's this drive that allows us to consistently build great homes, attractive and functional environments and vibrant communities that people are proud to be a part of and raise their families in. As we mature as a Company, we take great satisfaction from seeing our efforts translate into homes and neighbourhoods where people love to live.

Agile & Innovative

We are creative and open to new ideas, ready to implement change if required. We are prepared and able to adapt to changing market conditions and customer requirements.

Honest & Straightforward

Maintaining an open and transparent dialogue. Saying what needs to be said and not just what people want to hear. Laying down the truth, warts and all, means that we can get to a better solution faster.


Collaboration is at the core of homebuilding. Projects involve hundreds of people from varied disciplines working together to achieve a clear common goal – to build great homes.

Commercially Minded

Being sector aware. Knowing the customer. Seeking value and making savings. As well as building great and competitively priced new homes we are building sustainable long-term value for our shareholders.

Committed & Engaged

We are all in. We’ll be there to deliver on stakeholder needs throughout their journey with us, sharing our knowledge, our insights and our expertise to guide, support and reassure.

Ceo's review

"I am delighted to be reporting strong results for 2018 across all of our key metrics and importantly to announce our intention to propose an interim ordinary dividend of 2.5 cent per share next September, a very proud and significant milestone for everybody associated with Cairn less than four years since our IPO."

What makes us different


When we say built for life, we mean just that; solid homes that will stand the test of time, places that provide a great quality of life and a business model that takes a long term approach, creating a sustainable future for our customers, our Company, the homebuilding sector and also providing long term value for our shareholders.

  • 01Long term approach
  • 02Sustainable future
  • 03Shareholder value

“Built for life also means asking ourselves – what will success look like tomorrow and how will we build towards it today?”

We are People people

People come first. We never lose sight of the fact that our business is all about people, partnerships, respect and trust. This is evident in how we work with our customers, subcontractors, investors and each other. We are committed and engaged on a personal level.

  • 01Respect
  • 02Trust
  • 03Safety

“It’s our dedication to treating people with respect that really comes through.”

We are Community spirited

Family life is what happens inside a home: community is what happens in the spaces between and around the new homes we build. We place great emphasis on the importance of cohesive and vibrant communities and this influences our thinking at every level.

  • 01We are part of the community
  • 02A sustainable approach
  • 03A shared sense of ownership

“We provide amenities that encourage social interaction to create a stronger sense of community in our new home developments.”

We are Commercially minded

We are an established business with a clear strategy and a defined business model, offering a broad range of new homes across the price spectrum which appeal to all segments of the market from first time buyers to institutional investors. Our core business is focused on the delivery of quality, competitively priced starter homes to first time buyers.

  • 01Agile strategy
  • 02Competitively priced starter homes
  • 03Broad buyer pool

“We are a “developer- contractor” building on multi-phase, multi-year large scale residential sites containing an average of 475 units.”

At a glance

A business built to last

We have an established operating platform across housing and apartments, a defined supply chain and established subcontractor base.

For a full list of our locations, please see the full annual report.


13 active sites delivering 5,000 new homes
5 new site commencements in 2019 delivering additional c.2,200 new homes
OUR LAND BANK c.15,100 Land bank units (90% of units acquired within 1 year of IPO)
OUR LAND BANK 90% Targeted capital allocation focused on the Greater Dublin Area ("GDA")
OUR LAND BANK €751m Invested in land bank
GUIDANCE 2.5 cent First interim ordinary dividend to be announced in September 2019
GUIDANCE 1,400 – 1,500 Unit medium-term target by 2021
GUIDANCE €350m - €400m Free cash generation by the end of 2021
GUIDANCE Capital Returns Approach to ordinary dividends, special dividends and/or share buybacks to be outlined in September 2019
OUR LAND BANK 32 sites 17 housing (average c. 475 units) 6 housing & apartments (average c. 575 units) 9 high density apartments (average c. 325 units)
For a full list of our locations, please see the full annual report.

Our business model



Our building teams take pride in delivering quality. Their training and experience, from apprentices to engineers to foremen, surveyors and site managers, ensures that best-in-class standards are achieved.


Owned land bank units

A significant number of new homes will be delivered to the Irish new homes market into the long-term from a defined business model supported by a strong and robust balance sheet.


We engage with our customers to ensure that the new homes we design and build meet their every need, whether they are a first time buyer, an up-sizer or a down-sizer. We understand that buying a new home is one of the biggest....

decisions each of our customers will make in their life. Every home buyer benefit from the Cairn Customer Satisfaction Commitment, which extends to our after-sales service.


Creating value

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  • 15,100 units owned, majority acquired within one year of IPO in 2015
  • Land cost to Net Development Value* -12.9%
  • Agility of 32 core sites
  • Unit mix across the price spectrum
  • Average site size c. 475 units
  • Amortise fixed preliminary costs over longer term construction programme
  • Acquisitions targeted on land adjoining existing sites and joint ventures
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  • High calibre, talented team assembled
  • Support functions and site management teams fully resourced
  • Focus on developing talent and building careers
  • Business has been aligned operationally to manage the two elements of our construction activities – housing and apartments – more efficiently
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  • Land bank has no material planning risk
  • Design driven by creating communities
  • 2,106 units granted planning permission in 2018
  • c. 3,000 incremental units granted planning permission or expected to be gained on existing sites through increased densities
  • Understanding our market and customer needs and designing homes accordingly
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  • Standardised starter home product across multiple sites
  • Developer-Contractor – site management teams supported by central support functions
  • Manage strong and established sub- contractor and supplier relationships
  • Central procurement with fixed price framework agreements with major suppliers
  • Large scale sites drive construction cost economies of scale
  • Energy efficient homes with high energy ratings
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  • Connect with customers when they start the journey of buying a new home
  • Investment in customer service operations with full after-sales operations support across all selling sites
  • Fully integrated Customer Relationship Management system streamlined across sales and customer legal management process
  • Provide information, advice and support during every step of the home-buying journey
* defined as the estimated total revenue from all of the units in the Cairn land bank (ex. house price inflation and ex. VAT).


We build communities

We create sustainable, vibrant communities centred around well designed and high quality landscaped environments.


Revenue increased from €149.5m in 2017


Gross profit and a gross profit margin of 20.5% (from €27.1m and 18.2% in 2017)


Operating profit (2017: €14.5m)

4.4 cent

Adjusted earnings per share (2017: 0.7 cent)

2.5 cent

First interim ordinary dividend to be announced in September 2019

€350m – €400m

Free cash generation by the end of 2021

market overview

perfectly positioned for growth

With a talented and experienced team, a long-term land bank containing the best housing and apartment sites in the best locations and a defined operating model, Cairn is uniquely positioned to meet Ireland’s growing housing and apartment demands


Fastest growing economy in the EU


Average 5 year GDP and +418,000 employment growth since 2012.

Ireland has been the fastest growing and best performing economy in the EU for each of the last 5 years.

Undersupply of new homes


Supply in 2018 versus demand of 35,000 (ESRI).

Supply still less than 50% of annual demand.



Population growth and increasing employment has broadened our addressable market. Irish Revenue statistics indicate that there are +350,000 couples who can afford to buy a house priced between €275,000 and €375,000.

Attractive PRS market


Capital seeking multifamily PRS opportunities in the Greater Dublin Area.




Average land cost per unit:
• Housing €37,000
• Apartments €76,000



70% of our sites are active or “ready to go“ in 2019 and 2020 underpinning medium term guidance.


c. 8,400

Of our starter homes can be priced between €275,000 and €375,000.


c. 2,500 – 3,000

Apartment units

c. 2,500 – 3,000 of our apartment units can satisfy more than €1 billion of multifamily PRS demand.

Our strategy

The Group’s strategy is to establish itself over the long-term as a leading Irish homebuilder, constructing high quality and competitively priced new homes.

Our strategy priorities

what we did in 2018

Moved 804 new customers into their new homes with positive feedback on their buying journey; Undertook a large research project, which included qualitative and quantitative research across all buyer segments, our existing customers and the wider market, with the objective of providing a better understanding of the home buying journey and our customers’ motivations and behaviours so we can better meet their needs; Mapped the customer journey and identified gaps for extra attention; Launched a new, more intuitive, customer friendly website; and Trialled a children’s entertainment section for our customers at a development launch.

what we'll do in 2019

Roll out a customer lifecycle and content program to help plug identified gaps in the customer journey; Continued launch and roll out of our Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) strategy with development specific initiatives; Increased use of research to drive insight led product innovation and development of brilliant homes; Increased focus on after-sales experience and support; and Expand customer care to improve ease of customer access to our product.

Key performance indicators

Launch of lifecycle and content program; Key customer success and product decisions driven by research and customer insights; Launch of CSR initiatives that help foster communities within our developments; and Maintain net promoter score (“NPS”).


what we did in 2018

In doubling output volume to 804 units, delivered new homes of the highest quality to the market; Increased the range of product delivery from two-bedroom duplex units and competitively priced suburban starter homes to high end city centre apartments; Evolved the Cairn design to adapt to evolving trends;Delivered a standardised starter homes product across more starter homes sites; and Unlocked the potential of a number of sites with the delivery of key offsite infrastructure.

what we'll do in 2019

Continue to enhance the standard of new homes that the Company builds through our in-house pre-construction design development processes; Create further efficiencies during our construction process by ensuring fit for purpose designs and deployment of innovative building systems and methodologies; and Enhance the quality, cost effectiveness and timelines of construction.

Key performance indicators

Maintain the Company’s best in class quality standards for homes delivered; Increase volume output; Greater construction programme and cost efficiencies.


what we did in 2018

Contributed over €55 million to date towards public realm and infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, schools, public parks, playgrounds and sports facilities; Built communities and great places across 804 new homes – all within proximity to existing communities and infrastructure and with convenient transport links and access to great retail, leisure and recreational amenities; Market leading native planting and biodiversity programme executed.

what we'll do in 2019

Contribute over €20 million towards public realm and infrastructure projects across 13 active developments; Build communities and great places across an additional 1,500 new homes to be built; Hire additional employees; Integrate supply chain more closely to ensure long term scaling for the business; Further embed succession planning as part of broader talent management strategy to find, develop and retain the best people; Expand and integrate supply chain more closely to ensure long term scaling for the business; Hire additional staff and broaden our pool of subcontractors; Increased spend on procurement and maintain below-market build cost inflation; Introduce Cairn Apprenticeship program to support industry talent development; Expand our native planting and biodiversity programme; Launch our CSR program which is centred on community development.

Key performance indicators

Customer feedback on all sites where we build new homes in 2019; Launch of CSR policy and review of its effectiveness.


what we did in 2018

Recruited best talent within and outside the sector to increase our design and construction capability in order to scale; Support over 2,500 jobs across our active sites; Designed and introduced performance management, succession planning and development planning for all employees; Embedded goal setting across teams to ensure they were aligned to produce great homes efficiently; Introduced values to support our culture which constitute 20% of overall targets for our employees.

what we'll do in 2019

Hire additional employees; Integrate supply chain more closely to ensure long term scaling for the business; Further embed succession planning as part of broader talent management strategy to find, develop and retain the best people; Launch Cairn management development program; Introduce Employee Volunteering program as part of our CSR strategy to support community development and placemaking.

Key performance indicators

Attrition below agreed targets; Succession planning in place and effective for all key roles; New apprentices hired and being trained; Best talent in the market secured for all roles; 100% of employees have a development plan and full access to CPD; All site managers have been through the Management Development program; Internal communications strategy developed; Effective cross team goal setting and ways of working to ensure fully integrated delivery model from planning through to post sales experience.

05Operational Excellence

what we did in 2018

Secured access to talent in rising market through subcontractor network and recruitment of direct talent; c. 2,000 subcontractors fully engaged across our sites working under our site management teams to scale the business; Planning consents – 2,106 units granted planning build cost inflation; Introduced a partnership with Kingspan Group plc for the supply of off-site manufactured timber frame structures for our housing division (c. 30% of all houses constructed over the next two years will be off-site modular constructed units).

what we'll do in 2019

Expand and integrate supply chain more closely to ensure long term scaling for the business; Hire additional staff and broaden our pool of subcontractors; Increased spend on procurement and maintain below-market build cost inflation; Introduce Cairn Apprenticeship program to support industry talent development; Standardisation across our starter home developments to drive greater efficiency through the development cycle; Five new site commencements; Delivery of completed timber-frame constructed new homes across multiple sites; Maintain A3 Building Energy Ratings across all sites.

Key performance indicators

Scaling evidenced through effective subcontractor performance and achievement of program targets on time; Achievement of sales and margin targets; Direct construction costs as % of sales price; Build cost inflation; Procurement strategy capturing economies of scale and timely access to external resources and materials. Supply chain reliability (labour and materials).

Operating review

Significant scale achieved

Our business operates in an efficient and balanced manner, under a focused operating platform aligned to the two elements of our construction activities – traditional housing and high density apartments.

"2018 was another year of significant operational progress which delivered a strong trading performance underpinning our capital return plans."

New site commencements

3 Sites
c. 1,000 Units


5 New phases
c. 900 Units


c. 4.5% Across our active sites


2.75% On €242m procurement








24 Applications (2017: 24)
2,106 Units (2017: 1,187)


c. 1,100 Units (2017: c.1,900)
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corporate social responsibility

Building communities

We recognise our responsibility as a member of the communities in which we build, and we don’t take it lightly. We are proud to be using our skills, scale and commitment to contribute to a better society.

We will achieve this by working closely with our stakeholders towards clearly stated goals; getting down to work with a common sense of purpose; working hard to give people a home; helping to create strong and vibrant communities; generating jobs and growth; and supporting the environment. Our CSR activities are based around four themes: Community, Environment, Industry and People. Community is our central theme and feeds into all of our activities.

csr graph


Community is the central theme of our CSR programme. We believe that by working closely with our customers, local authorities and communities, we are helping to create places and spaces in which people can thrive and make a positive contribution to society – today and for generations to come.



commitment for public realm and infrastructure projects for 2019-2021


As homebuilders we are acutely aware of the effects of our business activities on the locations in which we build and the environment as a whole. From planning through to landscaping we keep sustainability in mind and ensure that we are building new homes and communities that are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and contribute to biodiversity in Ireland.

5 trees

planted for every home we build


We are leading from the front in developing a strong, safe and sustainable homebuilding industry. By developing close industry relationships, supporting jobs and training the next generation we are contributing to the long-term growth and sustainability of our sector.



subcontractor jobs supported across our active sites


We value our people and trusted partners and are actively providing resources and opportunities to grow and develop together. Our priority is ensuring an environment where our people can develop and do their best to build high quality, sustainable new homes in a safe workplace for all of our people.


dedicated Health & Safety officers