Pulte Homes (PHM) posted a net loss of $117m, $0.31 per share, in Q409, even though it will receive a $917m tax refund later this year. The Michigan-based homebuilder said $800m of the tax refund comes from the extension of the net operating loss (NOL) carryback allowance During Q408, Pulte reported a net loss of $338m, or $1.33 per share. In Q309, the builder lost $361.4m, or $1.15 per share. Pulte closed its merger with builder Centex on August 18, 2009. Total revenue was $1.6bn, up from $1.5bn in Q408. Gross margin from home sales during the quarter was 14.2%, up from 13.1% in Q309. Net new home orders, including those from the Centex operation, increased 113% from Q408 to 3,748 homes. At the end of the year, the combined company had a backlog of 5,931 homes worth $1.6bn. During the quarter, Pulte also had $925m in charges, including a goodwill impairment of $563m — a result of the Centex merger — $280m in land related charges, $45m in merger-related charges and $37m in mortgage repurchase reserve charges. Excluding those charges, Pulte said it would have broke even in the quarter. “We initiated a number of critical actions in 2009, the benefits of which can be seen in both the company's fourth quarter results and its stronger position heading into 2010,” said Pulte chairman, president and CEO Richard Dugas Jr. “Fourth-quarter gains in sign-up pace, adjusted margins, overhead leverage, cash and other critical business metrics are reflective of the company's improvement in overall business performance. For all of 2009, Pulte reported a $1.2bn, or $3.75 per share, net loss, compared with a net loss of $1.5bn, or $5.81 per share in 2008. Total 2009 revenue was $4.1bn, compared to total revenue of $6.3bn in 2008. Write to Austin Kilgore.