Rebound from lockdown
Persimmon reinstates dividend; Bancon plan
Persimmon: strong position
Housebuilder Persimmon said it was restoring its dividend even though half-year pre-tax profits fell by 42% to £292.4m.
It said it ended the period in a strong financial position with cash of £821m.
The housebuilder said it has seen a strong rebound in house sales in July following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Average weekly private sales are up by 49% on a year with forward orders 21% higher at £2.5bn.
In a statement with its results for the six months to June, Persimmon added that prospects were sufficiently encouraging to recommend a 40p interim dividend.
Revenue fell by a third to £1.2bn while the number of completions dropped to 4,900 (7,584) as lockdown severely hampered sales and construction.
The company said the short term outlook is robust with a strong start to the second half and healthy level of forward orders, well supported by a strong work in progress position.
Group chief executive Dave Jenkinson hailed the company’s “preparedness, agility and strength” during the pandemic.
He said: “Taking an early decision not to take advantage of the furlough scheme for any colleagues, we maintained good momentum in the business, continuing to serve our customers, making detailed preparations for a safe return to work and, when it was appropriate, restarting our build programmes efficiently.
“Build rates were back at pre-Covid levels by the end of the period.
Bancon Homes has obtained planning approval for the next phase of homes to be built at Maidencraig South, Aberdeen.
The company will build 208 homes opposite Dobbies on the western edge of the city.
Bancon hopes to expand outside the North East for the first time with a development in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire.
Home Awards cancelled
Homes for Scotland has cancelled its 2020 awards because of the restrictions on judging caused by the lockdown.
The winners were due to be announced at its Annual Lunch on 29 May.
“To avoid compromising the reputation and integrity of the awards which has been so carefully built up over the last two decades, we took the difficult decision to cancel both the awards and the event this year,” it said.
Instead of winners all shortlisted candidates will be announced in order to recognise the efforts of successful submissions.