Persimmon has delivered a robust financial performance in the period, generating new housing revenue of £1.75bn in the last six months (2020: £1.10bn) and a profit before tax of £480.1m (2020: £292.4m).
The business’ diverse UK wide network of sites together with its resilient balance sheet, high quality land holdings and disciplined land replacement provide strong foundations for high quality growth. With The Persimmon Way, the Group’s consolidated construction approach, now fully operational in the business providing further opportunity, we are confident that we can deliver high standards of build quality and customer satisfaction, consistently across our new homes whilst increasing our volumes.
Persimmon builds communities and creates places where our customers wish to live and work. The Group has been pursuing a consistent strategy for a number of years, building a resilient liquidity position and high quality land holdings. This strategy, which recognises and creates resilience against the cyclical nature of the housing market, maintains financial and operational flexibility and deploys capital at the right time in the cycle. This ensures that the business is able to generate sustainable superior returns for the benefit of all of its stakeholders over the long-term.
Persimmon recognises it plays an important role in society. By following its strategy the Group has again demonstrated its resilience through the recent challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic and which has allowed the Group to be able to continue to contribute more widely to the communities it serves. I am pleased that we have taken important – and industry-leading – steps to address legacy cladding and leasehold issues. By acting and putting customers first we are continuing to work to help remove uncertainty and concern, providing support to local communities.
Capital Return Programme
The Group has now distributed 235p per share to shareholders in respect of the year ended 31 December 2020, after re-iterating its commitment to do so in March 2021. The Board accelerated the payment of the regular annual distribution of 125p per share as an interim dividend, to March 2021 (from early July 2021). In addition, on 13 August 2021, the Group accelerated the return of surplus capital in relation to the year ended 31 December 2020 by way of a payment of 110p per share, rather than making two payments of 55p per share, one to be paid in August 2021 and the second in December 2021 as had previously been indicated. This has returned the Group to distributing two capital return payments every 12 months, a year earlier than originally envisaged. There will be no further dividend payments in relation to the year ended 31 December 2020.
As indicated at the release of Persimmon’s final results on 3 March 2021, the Board intends to continue this pre-Covid profile of capital return payments in 2022, being distributions in relation to the financial year ending 31 December 2021. The payment of the regular annual distribution of capital of 125p per share will be paid in early July 2022 and any surplus capital in relation to the financial year ended 31 December 2021 will be paid in late March/early April 2022. The value of the surplus capital return, as always, will be subject to continual assessment by the Board in line with the Group’s strategy.
The Board is pleased to welcome Shirine Khoury-Haq who joined as an Independent Non-Executive Director from 1 July 2021. Shirine joined the Board’s Audit, Risk and Nomination Committees on the same date.
Rachel Kentleton, Non-Executive Director, will step down from the Board on 31 August 2021 to concentrate on her executive responsibilities, having recently been appointed Chief Financial Officer of St. Modwen Properties Ltd. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Rachel for the significant contribution she has made over the last six years and wish her well in her new role. Shirine will succeed Rachel as Chair of the Audit Committee.
The Board would also like to take this opportunity to thank Persimmon’s employees, workforce and suppliers for their hard work and commitment.
Persimmon is well positioned for the future with an experienced management team, a strong platform for high quality growth, and a resilient liquidity position and balance sheet. We are confident of the Group’s future success.
17 August 2021