Persimmon Plc is one of the UK’s leading housebuilders.
We are a team of over 4,500 people focused on the successful growth of our business and our results demonstrate our ability to react swiftly to changes in housing demand whilst improving the quality of shareholder returns. We sold 16,449 new homes in 2018, 406 more homes than in 2017. Our underlying new housing operating margin* was 30.8% for the year ended 31 December 2018 (2017: 28.2%) and our profit before tax increased 13% to £1,090.8m (2017: £966.1m).
The Group remains focused on delivering house types that appeal to customers across the range but with an emphasis on first time buyers and first time movers. In 2018 39% of our private sales were delivered at prices of less than £200,000.
We maintain a strong focus on capital efficiency and return on average capital employed, which is supported by strong capital discipline, controlled investment in our nationwide network of active sites and a superior turnover of work in progress. Our underlying return on average capital employed** was 52.8% in the year ended 31 December 2018 (2017: 51.5%).
One of our main strengths and a key element to our strategy is the conversion of our strategic landholdings to land with planning permission and the value this asset can create for shareholders. We are confident that our strategic land portfolio of c.16,500 acres will, in due course, yield in excess of 100,000 forward plots for future development by the Group.
To support our construction operations we continue to invest in our off-site manufacturing capability. Our brick manufacturing factory at Harworth, near Doncaster has the capacity to produce c. 80m bricks a year which approximates to two thirds of the Group’s brick requirements. Additionally, during 2018 we commenced construction of our own roof tile manufacturing facility to secure the supply of this key material element. Finally, the Group’s Space4 business produces a “fabric first” solution to the construction of new homes using off-site manufacturing techniques to produce timber frames, highly insulated wall panels and roof cassettes. During 2018 Space4 delivered c. 6,000 timber frame house kits and insulated roof systems to the Group’s housebuilding businesses.
The expertise of all the Group’s employees and subcontractors are key ingredients in delivering the Group’s strong operational performance. We continue to invest in the training and development of our employees and we aim to deliver improvements in customer care and levels of service through further investment in our teams, processes and systems.
*stated before goodwill impairment of £9.2m (2017: £11.0m)
**12 month rolling average stated before goodwill impairment