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Covid-19 hits Persimmon’s bottom line as profit falls £216.9m

19 August 2020

Housebuilder Persimmon suffered a £216.9m fall in its pre-tax profit in the first half of 2020 (to 30 June) and turnover dropped from £1.8bn to £1.2bn, largely due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

But the company said its build rates have already recovered to pre-covid levels, after it decided not to take advantage of the government’s furlough scheme and instead made detailed plans to return to work.

Persimmon completed 4,900 new homes over the period, compared to 7,584 in the same period a year before.

New housing gross margins were down slightly to 31.3% from 33.8% the year before.

The housebuilder also confirmed today that its incoming chief executive, Dean Finch, will join the company earlier than expected, after it was announced that he would leave National Express Group on 31 August this year.

Persimmon’s outgoing chief executive Dave Jenkinson said: “Despite the significant disruption, the group’s preparedness, agility and strength ensured a robust first half performance with 4,900 new home completions and further good progress made on our customer care improvement plan.  

“The group has had an excellent start to the second half with a c. 49% year on year increase in average weekly private sales rates per site since the start of July and a current forward order book of c. £2.5bn, a 21% increase on last year. Our strong opening work in progress position and excellent build rate through the summer give us confidence in a positive second half outturn. We expect that by the end of September, we will have delivered c. 45% of our anticipated second half new home legal completions.”