York-based house building giant Persimmon plc said on Thursday it brought forward its dividend payment to next month as it revealed that first-half revenue in the six months to June 30 rose to £1.84 billion compared to £1.19 billion for the same period of 2020 and £1.75 billion in 2019.
In a first-half trading update, Persimmon said it made 7,406 legal completions (2020: 4,900, 2019: 7,584) and has forward sales of £1.82 billion (2020: £1.86bn, 2019: £1.62bn).
In its outlook, Persimmon said: “The average selling price of new homes forward sold to owner occupiers was c. £250,350, c. 3.3% ahead of the prior year (2020: £242,400).
“The total number of new homes forward sold at 30 June 2021 was c. 9,550 (2020: 10,105) with c. 4,950 sold into the private market (2020: 5,151).
“We are experiencing improvements to selling price across our regional markets which will continue to mitigate supply chain cost pressures.”
On dividends, Persimmon said: “The board re-iterated its commitment to total capital returns of 235p per share in respect of the financial year ended 31 December 2020, at the release of Persimmon’s final results on 3 March 2021.
“The group announced the acceleration and payment of the regular annual distribution for the year ended 31 December 2020 of 125p per share as an interim dividend, which was paid on 26 March 2021.
“In addition, the group announced its intention to split the 110p per share surplus capital payment into two payments, one to be paid in August 2021 and the second in December 2021.
“Given the Group’s ongoing strong performance and cash generation, the board is pleased to announce today that it intends to return the 110p per share of surplus capital as a single additional interim dividend payment in relation to the financial year ended 31 December 2020.
“This payment will be made on 13 August 2021 to shareholders on the register on 23 July 2021, accelerating and consolidating the previously indicated payments, and returning the group to distributing two capital return payments every 12 months, a year earlier than originally envisaged.
“There will be no further dividend payments in relation to the year ended 31 December 2020.
“As indicated at the release of Persimmon’s final results on 3 March 2021 the board intends to return to the pre-Covid profile of capital return payments in 2022, being distributions in relation to the financial year ending 31 December 2021.
“The payment of the regular annual distribution of capital of 125p per share will be paid in early July 2022 and any surplus capital in relation to the financial year ended 31 December 2021 will be paid in late March/early April 2022.
“The value of the surplus capital return, as always will be subject to continual assessment by the board in line with the Group’s strategy.”
Persimmon CEO Dean Finch said: “In supporting the group’s high quality growth we are taking advantage of attractive land investment opportunities and successfully brought over 10,000 new plots into the business across 48 locations in the period.
“We remain focused on progressing our pipeline of new sales outlets through the planning system and into production, and on our ongoing build programmes, to provide improved stock availability and choice for our customers.
“Persimmon is well placed for the future with a strong balance sheet and healthy liquidity.
“As such, we are pleased to announce the accelerated payment of the surplus capital distribution of 110p per share in respect of the year ended 31 December 2020, which will be paid on 13 August 2021.”