Persimmon revenue falls to £3.6bn amid service push

York housebuilding giant Persimmon said on Wednesday its revenue slipped 2.4% to £3.65 billion in the year to December 31 reflecting “the action being taken to ensure the group delivers improved levels of quality and service to its customers.”

In a trading update ahead of its final results, Persimmon said its average selling price of £215,700 was in line with last year’s £215,563.

“We anticipate the group’s pre-tax profits will be in line with our market consensus,” said Persimmon.

Persimmon shares edged higher to around £28.07 to give the firm a current stock market value of just under £9 billion.

Last month, scandal-hit Persimmon was urged to change its corporate culture by an independent review following serious complaints about its executive pay, customer service and the safety of its homes.

“Total forward sales value of c. £1,356m at 31 December 2019 (2018: £1,397m) provides Persimmon with a solid platform as we enter 2020 …” added Persimmon in its update.

“We currently have c. 365 developments in construction, a similar position to last year and plan to open c. 80 new sites in the first half of the year, adding to the group’s high quality development portfolio …

“The group’s cash generation remains strong. Cash balances of c. £844m were held at 31 December 2019 (2018: £1,048m) after returning £748m of capital to shareholders in 2019 (2018: £732m).

“Looking ahead to the 2020 spring season, Persimmon is in a strong market position.

“The group has a nationwide outlet network and a range of attractive house types available at affordable prices across the UK regions, supported by high quality land holdings and a conservative balance sheet.

“We will give an update on our assessment of the housing market over the early weeks of 2020, together with the progress we are making with the implementation of our customer care improvement plan and the recommendations of the recent Independent Review, when we announce our results for the year ended 31 December 2019 on Thursday 27 February 2020.”

Persimmon CEO Dave Jenkinson said: “Persimmon continues to make good progress with the implementation of its customer care improvement plan.

“Central to this plan is putting customers before volume, with new home legal completions for 2019 being 4% lower than last year.

“Delivering the maximum benefit to our customers from our quality and service improvement initiatives will continue to be my top priority for 2020.

“I am pleased with the progress we have made in 2019 and there is more to do.

“Action taken to maintain our increased levels of work in progress investment, the increase in quality assurance and customer service resources, and our plans for the implementation of the recommendations of the recent Independent Review, will all add to our momentum …”