York-based Persimmon, the UK’s second-largest house builder, said on Tuesday its profit before tax increased 13% to £516.3 million and revenue was up 5% to £1.84 billion in the six months to June 30, 2018.
Persimmon’s forward sales are 6% ahead of last year at £2.12 billion.
The firm also gave more details on its ongoing plan to return surplus capital to shareholders.
Persimmon — still under shareholder fire for excessive executive compensation — said its Persimmon-branded houses enjoyed a 4.4% sales price increase to £223,308 and the average sales price for its Charles Church-branded homes rose 2.2% to £355,574.
“From the launch of our long-term strategy at the start of 2012 to 30 June 2018 the group has delivered c. 88,800 new homes across the UK …” said Persimmon, which has a current stock market value of around £7.7 billion.
“We have also invested c. £3.5 billion in new land and opened 1,285 new sales outlets whilst returning a total of c. £2.2 billion of surplus capital to shareholders, £1.4 billion more than was originally planned by this point …
“Total surplus capital of £7.20 per share, or c. £2.2 billion, has now been paid to shareholders.
“The further scheduled return of capital of £5.80 per share is planned to be paid over the next three years to 2021.
“The next additional return of capital of 125 pence per share is scheduled for early April 2019, whilst the next regular annual instalment of 110 pence per share is scheduled to be paid in early July 2019.
“These payments will be finalised with the release of the group’s 2018 full year results to be announced on Tuesday 26 February 2019.”
Persimmon CEO Jeff Fairburn said: “These strong results reflect the continued successful delivery of the group’s long term strategy and our commitment to meeting customer demand in each of our 30 regional markets across the UK.
“We have continued to experience good levels of customer interest in our housing development sites as we trade through the quieter summer season.
“Customers are continuing to benefit from a competitive mortgage market and confidence remains resilient based on healthy employment trends and low interest rates.
“Our forward sales are 6% ahead of last year at £2.12bn which places the group in a strong position for the second half of the year.
“The group continues to invest in the business to improve operational capacity.
“The increased utilisation of the group’s standard house types and the greater use of the group’s offsite manufacturing capability will support the group’s aim to deliver further increases in new home volumes.
“The group has a robust platform to continue to deliver successful outcomes based on its high quality land bank, strong forward sales, excellent financial position, and experienced management team.
“We believe we are well positioned to deliver further high quality, sustainable growth.”