Scandal-hit Persimmon sees revenue and profit fall

Scandal-hit York house building giant Persimmon said on Tuesday its revenue and profit fell in the six months to June 30 as it spent money on schemes aimed at fixing complaints about the quality of its homes.

First-half profit before tax fell to £509.3 million from £516.3 million as revenue fell 4.5% lower to £1.754 billion.

Persimmon is still recovering from criticism of its excessive executive compensation policies that led to the departure of its former CEO Jeff Fairburn and scrutiny of its alleged practices with the UK government’s “Help to Buy” scheme.

New Persimmon CEO Dave Jenkinson said: “Improving the quality and service delivered to our customers remains our top priority and I am encouraged with the progress made in the first half, which clearly shows that Persimmon is changing …

“The improvements to our customer service approach had two main impacts in the period. 

“First, customer service spend increased by c. 40% year on year and these additional initiatives are anticipated to increase our annual customer care costs by an estimated £15m.

“Second, and as noted earlier in the year, our decision to invest an additional c. £140m in work in progress as we held back some sites for later sales release to give customers more accurate moving-in dates reduced the group’s overall sales volumes.

“Allowing for these impacts, Persimmon’s trading in the first half of 2019 was strong …

“I am confident that the progress we are making with our initiatives, our strong forward build, healthy forward sales and robust balance sheet place Persimmon in a strong position for the second half.”