The Calabasas-based homebuilder and mortgage finance company blamed lower sales and a $65 million impairment charge related to assets in Fort Myers, Fla., Phoenix, Socal and Washington D.C. What's an "impairment charge," you ask? It's basically writing off worthless goodwill in a financial statement. Ryder is also writing off the $15 million in goodwill associated with the acquisition of a California homebuilder, MJ Brock & Sons. That's substantially all of the company's remaining goodwill. The accounting ramifications are not explained - other than to note that excluding the write-offs, there would have been a quarterly gain of 63 cents-73 cents per share. CEO Chad Dreier said there was cautious optimism at the end of the fourth quarter that pricing had begun to stabilize. "However, as the first quarter progressed," he said, "it became clear that aggressive pricing strategies persisted in several markets, requiring us to write-down the value of some of our assets this quarter." First quarter sales were down 26 percent from a year earlier, and the cancellation rate as a percent of sales was 28 percent. The other homebuilders have been reporting pretty much the same thing.
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