Shares in Persimmon (PSN) fell 5.2% to £26.41 despite a robust full year trading update which came in ahead of expectations with investors potentially reacting to the lack of forward guidance.

The company said its annual revenue had slipped 8.8%, though the fall was buffered by a recovery in trading conditions during the second half.

Revenue for the year through December fell to £3.33 billion, down from £3.65 billion year-on-year, the company said in a trading update.

Home completions fell 14% to 13,575, down from 15,855, but included 8,675 completions in the second half. The average home selling price rose by around 7% to £230,500.

Persimmon said a total forward sales value of £1.69 billion at 31 December provided a strong platform as it entered 2021. However, investors will have to wait for the company’s assessment of the state of the UK housing market until it announces its 2020 results in full on 3 March.

SHAREHOLDER PAYOUT HALVED

Dividends for the full year more than halved to 110p per share, down from 235p in 2019. The company has cash on the balance sheet of £1.23 billion.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Aynsley Lammin commented: ‘The average selling price was better than we expected due to mix effects and group revenue was better than we expected despite completions being slightly lower than our forecast.

‘Clearly the group sold very well in H2 after a swift start up from the first lockdown into a strong sales backdrop. Consequently, the group has ended the year with lower site numbers and inventory. The cash position at the end of December is better than we expected.’

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Issue Date: 13 Jan 2021