Housebuilder Persimmon’s (PSN) full year numbers bore the scars of the pandemic but strong recent trading and the promise of further support in the upcoming budget helped lift the shares 4.3% to £28.27.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December dropped to £783.8 million, down from £1.04 billion year-on-year.

Revenue fell 8.8% to £3.33 billion after a 14% slide in home completions to 13,575 was partly offset by a 6.9% rise in the average home selling price to £230,534.

Persimmon declared a full-year dividend of 110p per share, less than half the 235p it paid for 2019.

On a brighter note, it said it was committed to a total payout of 235p per share in 2021, subject to continual board review. This is backed by cash of £1.23 billion.

STRONG SALES IN 2021

Persimmon said it was targeting a full return to 2019 levels of new home completions in 2022.

In the first half of 2021, it expected completion volumes approaching the levels seen during the first half of 2019, with similar delivery in the second half.

The company said it had 'strong' forward sales levels of £2.3 billion, up 15% year-on-year, supported by low interest rates, good mortgage availability and ongoing government support measures

Its average private weekly sales rates for the first eight weeks of 2021 was 7% ahead of last year.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Aynsley Lammin commented: ‘The group is highlighting the progress made in areas of customer service. While not a big surprise, it is reassuring and supportive for valuation to see the group committing to returning 235p per share of capital in 2021.

‘Overall, we would expect consensus to edge up modestly and the market to welcome the commitment and visibility on the dividend.’

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Issue Date: 03 Mar 2021