Persimmon profit up 52pc

Housebuilder Persimmon is targeting a rise in operating margin to about 15 percent in the next two years, Chief Executive Mike Farley told Reuters.

Farley added that he expects the company to achieve double-digit operating margin growth next year.

"We'd like to think in the next two years or so we have operating margin back around the 15 percent mark.

"We're on track with that. We'd like to think we can get into double digit margins next year," he said.

Persimmon reported a 52 per cent surge in first-half pre-tax profit, benefiting from an improved operating margin as it kept a tight hold on development costs and achieved better margins on newly opened sites.

Operating margin rose to nine per cent from eight per cent the year before.