Persimmon posts profit as buyers return

Published:  03 March, 2010

YORK: A recovering housing market saw housebuilder Persimmon yesterday reported full year pre-tax profit of £77.8m, against a loss of £780m in 2008.

John White, group chairman, said: "Our cash generation and cost control have placed the business in a strong position both operationally and financially for a recovering market. Prices have held firm since the beginning of the year and we remain focused on improving our operating margins and to profitably grow the business."

Profit, on revenues of £1.42bn, was down 19% from the £1.76bn reported in 2008, largely due to a £74.8m write back of land value. The firm said underlying profits were just £7m.

It added that the fall in underlying profit hid a much stronger performance in the second half of the year, with £23.7m of profits in that period following losses in the first half.

Persimmon said it had made £260m worth of sales since the start of the year, with a total of £900m of forward sales for 2010, compared to just £700m at the same point last year.

The company said it would open 90 sites in the first six months of 2010 and had reduced debt to just £267.5m, down from £600.5m last year.

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