Persimmon forward sales rise to £2.23bn

York-based house building giant Persimmon plc said on Wednesday its forward sales stand at £2.23 billion, including legal completions in the second half of the year so far, up 9% on the “more normal” trading year of 2019.

Announcing half year results for the six months ended June 30, 2021, Persimmon said its first-half pretax profit rose to £480.1 million from £292.4 million in H1 of 2020.

First-half revenue rose to £1.84 billion from £1.19 billion in H1 of 2020.

Persimmon reported £479.8 million of net cash generation before dividends paid of £398.7 million and land spend of £200.4 million.

On dividend policy, Persimmon said: “The group has now distributed 235p per share to shareholders in respect of the year ended 31 December 2020, after re-iterating its commitment to do so in March 2021.

“The board accelerated the payment of the regular annual distribution of 125p per share as an interim dividend, to March 2021 (from early July 2021).

“In addition, on 13 August 2021, the group accelerated the return of surplus capital in relation to the year ended 31 December 2020 by way of a payment of 110p per share, rather than making two payments of 55p per share, one to be paid in August 2021 and the second in December 2021 as had previously been indicated. 

“This has returned 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 continue this 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.”

Persimmon CEO Dean Finch said: “Persimmon’s first half performance has been robust.

“In particular, I am pleased we have delivered strong growth in legal completions whilst also achieving higher levels of build quality and customer satisfaction.

 “We made good progress in the land market in the period, bringing over 10,000 plots of high quality land into the business, achieving good visibility of new outlet openings and providing momentum for our future growth.

“With c. 85 new outlets opening in the second half of the current year, we are improving availability and choice for our customers.

“We’re managing the balance of inflationary pressures well and currently anticipate that our industry leading returns will remain resilient.

“Our forward sales position is c. 9% ahead of the same point in 2019, with our cumulative private sales rate over 20% above that of 2019 for the year to date.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues across the business who have achieved these results.

“Persimmon’s high quality land holdings, disciplined land replacement strategy, healthy liquidity, experienced management team and continued resolve to drive improvements in build quality and customer service provide an excellent platform for its future success.

 “Our ambition is to be seen by our customers as delivering both outstanding service and outstanding value.

“I am determined to build on the progress we have made and enhance our capability to consistently provide high quality homes which will help secure sustainable benefits for all of our stakeholders.

“We anticipate successfully delivering c. 10% growth in sales completions this year.

“The group has a great platform and good momentum to deliver further disciplined growth into the medium term, creating value for all.”

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Mark McSherry
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