- House builder Persimmon reported a 25% fall in annual profit and slashed its dividend, after construction markets were battered by the pandemic.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December dropped to £783.8 million, down from £1.04 billion year-on-year.

Revenue fell 8.8% to £3.33 billion after a 14% slide in home completions to 13,575 was partly offset by a 6.9% rise in the average home selling price to £230,534.

Persimmon declared a full-year dividend of 110p per share, less than half the 235p it paid for 2019.

On a brighter note, it said it was committed to a total payout of 235p per share in 2021, subject to continual board review.

Persimmon said it was targeting a full return to 2019 levels of new home completions in 2022.

In the first half of 2021, it expected completion volumes approaching the levels seen during the first half of 2019, with similar delivery in the second half.

The company said it had 'strong' forward sales levels of £2.3 billion, up 15% year-on-year, supported by low interest rates, good mortgage availability and ongoing government support measures

Its average private weekly sales rates for the first eight weeks of 2021 was 7% ahead of last year.

'Persimmon delivered a robust performance in 2020 despite the challenges presented by the pandemic,' chief executive Dean Finch said.

'I am particularly pleased we have delivered all this whilst continuing to see an increase in our HBF eight-week customer satisfaction score, with our current rates above the five-star threshold.'

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