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Persimmon shrugs off Brexit uncertainty to post sales, revenue rise
January 5, 2017 / 8:17 AM / a year ago

Persimmon shrugs off Brexit uncertainty to post sales, revenue rise

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s second-biggest housebuilder by volume Persimmon (PSN.L) said sales had risen 15 percent since Britons voted in June to leave the European Union but that it would be hard to better last year’s strong performance in 2017.

A sign is displayed at a Persimmon construction site in Dartford, southern Britain August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/Files

Persimmon, which built 15,171 homes across Britain last year, also posted an expected 8 percent rise in 2016 revenue to 3.14 billion pounds and said profits for the year would be at the top-end of expectations.

Pre-tax profit for 2016 is forecast to rise nearly 20 percent to 755 million pounds, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of 12 analysts.

Persimmon said it built 7,933 homes in the six months to the end of December but it did not give a sales figure in its trading update on Thursday.

But it said the strong demand seen in 2016 would be difficult to beat this year.

“We’re not anticipating big growth,” Chief Executive Jeff Fairburn told Reuters.

“The first part of the year was a very good trading time for us in terms of sales so I think the comparables are going to be quite tough...and perhaps a bit of uncertainty about trading,” he said.

An increase in stamp duty property tax introduced in April last year encouraged some buyers to push forward their sales to the first three months of the year, boosting sales in the period, according to a number of surveys.

Persimmon said it would continue to buy land for future developments, one of the biggest costs borne by a housebuilder, but added that uncertainty created by the June 23 referendum outcome might affect its decision-making.

Reporting by Costas Pitas, Editing by Paul Sandle and Susan Thomas

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