January 8, 2014 / 9:23 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Persimmon revenue rises 21 pct on UK housing recovery

* CEO says may build 12-15 pct more homes in 2014

* Says not unduly concerned over end of govt support

LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Persimmon posted a 21 percent rise in 2013 revenue, at the top end of analysts’ forecasts, as the firm benefited from a recovery in the country’s housing market.

In a trading update on Wednesday, Britain’s biggest housebuilder by market value said revenue rose to 2.1 billion pounds ($3.4 billion).

Analysts were expecting revenue between 1.91 and 2.06 billion pounds, a Thomson Reuters survey showed.

Persimmon is due to publish its full 2013 results next month. The survey of 13 analysts forecast pretax profit of 293-323 million pounds, but Persimmon Chief Executive Jeff Fairburn said he expected analysts to increase their forecasts.

Britain’s housebuilding sector was dragged out of a slump in 2013 after the government unveiled measures to help struggling homebuyers purchase properties with small deposits, stoking demand and encouraging overall market sentiment to improve.

Fairburn said the company was responding to market demand by completing more homes faster, and could increase volumes by a further 12-15 percent in 2014 based on current reservation rates. Persimmon delivered 11,528 new homes in 2013.

However, analysts have warned that the biggest risk to the sector’s recovery is the withdrawal of such government support, after the Bank of England unexpectedly cut a mortgage support scheme to avoid a housing bubble last November.

Fairburn said he was mindful of the “Help to Buy” scheme’s impact on the market, but was not unduly concerned.

“We have other things that we can do to mitigate that at the end of the period...There will be more mortgage products available I believe, and ultimately we have the facility to reintroduce our own shared-equity products,” he said.

Shares in Persimmon, which hit a six-and-a-half year high of 1343 pence earlier on Wednesday after its update, were trading flat at 1294 pence at 0849 GMT, valuing the company at 3.9 billion pounds.

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