Persimmon bounces back but warns of ‘growing economic risk’ of Ukraine conflict

Britain’s second-largest homebuilder Persimmon said today it expects to deliver 4-7% more homes this year after it posted a 23% rise in annual profit.

Persimmon bounces back but warns of 'growing economic risk' of Ukraine conflict

The company made a pre-tax profit of £966.8 million compared to £783.3m in 2020 and close to £1,041m pre-pandemic.

Persimmon built 14,551 new homes in 2021, well above 13,575 units a year earlier.

There was, however, concerns that the deepening Russia-Ukraine crisis will add further pressure on fuel prices.

Dean Finch, group chief executive, said: “Persimmon’s performance was strong in 2021 as we delivered more homes, built better and strengthened our platform for future growth. Maintaining build rates at pre-Covid levels, we delivered almost 1,000 additional new homes, and improved customer service such that we anticipate receiving a five-star rating in the annual HBF survey later in March 2022, a first in the company’s history, whilst also improving our underlying operating margin.

“An agile approach across the business ensured we navigated the supply chain challenges posed by the pandemic, with our Brickworks, Tileworks and Space4 manufacturing facilities providing security of supply for essential materials and helping us maintain our operating efficiency. We will significantly expand production capacity at our Brickworks and Tileworks facilities this year and invest in a new Space4 timber frame facility.

“We are taking advantage of exciting opportunities in the land market, bringing in over 20,750 plots into our business last year at industry-leading embedded margins, and we expect to open around 75 new outlets in the first half of 2022.

“A year ago, we adopted an industry-leading position regarding the remediation of all cladding and fire-related defects on the small number of buildings developed by Persimmon has developed over the last 30 years, which is consistent with the recent amendments to the Building Safety Bill. We await further details including any widening in scope of those developments brought within the Building Safety Levy.

“The new year’s trading has started well, with private sales rates ahead by c. 2% in the opening weeks and a robust forward sales position of £2.21bn. We expect to grow our outlet position in 2022 and are targeting volume growth of 4–7% on 2021 levels, whilst maintaining our industry-leading margins, although we are mindful of the growing risk of an economic impact as a result of the tragic conflict in Ukraine.”

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