Wednesday 29 April 2020 9:44 am

Housebuilder Persimmon confident in outlook as construction sites reopen

Housebuilder Persimmon said customer enquiries have remained at good levels throughout the UK coronavirus lockdown so far as the developer pushes ahead with the phased reopening of its construction sites. 

The company said steady customer enquiries provided “some encouragement on the resilience of demand” during the coronavirus crisis. 

Persimmon’s current forward sales position is “robust” at £2.4bn, down from £2.7 per cent this time last year, with an average private selling price of £244,500 compared to £237,850 last year. 

The FTSE 100 housebuilder has begun a phased restart to work on its construction sites, after announcing last week that it tested social distancing measures on site.

Group chief executive Dave Jenkinson said: “Persimmon is responding to the crisis from a position of strength, to the benefit of all its stakeholders; our long-term strategy and business model recognises the cyclical nature of the housing market, minimises financial risk through the cycle, and provides the flexibility needed to manage effectively through this difficult period. 

“The government has been clear that it wants the UK’s housebuilders to get back to building and this week we have started the phased process of getting back to work safely on site in order to deliver the new homes the country needs.”

The company has not furloughed any staff and has no plans to access any of the government’s Covid-19 funding. It has a cash position of £600m and access to an undrawn £300m revolving credit facility. 

Persimmon has postponed the payment of its final dividend of 110p per share, which was due to be paid to shareholders on 6 July. It had already cancelled the interim dividend of 125p per share that was due to be paid this month.

The developer said the payment of a final dividend for the year to 31 December 2019 will be re-evaluated in the second half of this year. 

“The board has thoroughly stress tested the group’s liquidity position and remains confident of the group’s future prospects,” Persimmon said in a statement.