LONDON Feb 25 British housebuilder Persimmon
said it would bring forward a 1.9 billion pound ($3.16 billion)
planned payout to shareholders after a strong rebound in housing
demand helped it achieve a 49 percent jump in full-year pretax
The company, Britain's largest housebuilder by market value,
has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of government schemes
to free up the mortgage market, which have stoked buyer demand
and consequently sales.
"The improvement in performance for 2013 has enabled us to
generate more cash and that's led to us having options of buying
more land and returning the cash more quickly through the
dividend to shareholders," Chief Executive Jeff Fairburn told
Reuters on Tuesday.
The initial scheme was for payouts every two years between
2013 and 2020, with a final payment of 115 pence in 2021.
Fairburn said the company would pay out 70 pence per share
on July 4, bringing forward part of the 2021 payment to top up a
previous planned dividend of 10 pence announced in April last
It will also pay 95 pence per share next year as planned and
will pay shareholders at least 10 pence per share in 2016 and
2018, with these also coming from the final payment.
Accendo Markets senior trader Marc Kimsey said Persimmon's
update was a sign the industry was thriving. "Until purchasing
incentives are withdrawn or interest rates increase, there is
little reason to avoid the house builder stocks," he said.
Persimmon said underlying profit before tax for the year to
the end of December rose to 330 million pounds ($548.81 million)
from 222 million pounds a year earlier.
Analysts had forecast pretax profit of 293-334 million
pounds, a Thomson Reuters survey of 15 analysts showed. The
company posted a 21 percent rise in 2013 revenue in January, at
the top end of analyst forecasts.
Persimmon said it had sold - or legally completed on -
11,528 homes over the year, 16 percent more than last year, with
its average selling price rising 4 percent to 181,861 pounds.
Fairburn said he expected a similar increase in sales volume in
2014 and that, overall, the company had capacity to reach
14,000-15,000 new homes a year.
The company said the first eight weeks of the spring selling
season was encouraging, with its weekly private sales rate per
site 22 percent ahead of last year. Total forward sales are
currently 1.42 billion pounds for 2014, up 41 percent on the
Shares in Persimmon were trading up 1.1 percent at 1487
pence at 0837 GMT, while the Thomson Reuters UK Homebuilding
index was 0.3 percent stronger.