Persimmon lifts target | WeWork fails | Primark thrives
Home builder Persimmon aims to build more homes this year than its earlier expectation, while pointing to “highly uncertain” market conditions for the coming year.
The company said overall pricing remained “broadly stable”, but it had experienced a slight reduction in private average selling price in its order book and an increase in the use of incentives in certain regions.
It said the private sales rate improved over the past five weeks to 0.59 units, compared with 0.45 homes in the corresponding period last year.
The FTSE 250 firm now expects to build 9,500 homes this yuear, above its August forecast of 9,000 units, helped by improved sales since the start of October.
Office sharing company WeWork has filed for bankruptcy in the US. The company, a former venture capital star, was valued at $47bn (£38bn) at its height and is now thought to be worth about $50m.
Its value has been almost wiped out as it struggled with costly leases as well as clients cancelling because of employees working from home.
The company is seeking a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection order which aims to give a company breathing space so it can attempt to sort out its finances.
Locations outside of the US and Canada are unaffected by the process. Its occupants in George Street, Edinburgh, include The Scotsman newspaper which is relocating to Princes Street.
It said its UK and Ireland operations “remains business as usual” and “the UK and Ireland is, and always will be, one of our most important markets.”
Value fashion retailer Primark posted a 30% rise in operating profits as lower costs saw sales increase in all markets across the UK, Europe and the US in the year to the end of September.
In a trading update by parent company Associated British Food, Primark posted profits of £717 million compared to the £550m last year.
Direct Line Insurance Group reported strong growth in the third quarter as rising prices supported more than doubled motor premium growth in the Motor division.
The online insurance firm said in the three months to September, Motor gross written premiums more than doubled to £826.8 million from last year, a rise of 115.4%.