April 24, 2020 / 6:29 AM / a month ago

Persimmon to restart work on house construction sites

FILE PHOTO: Persimmon signage is seen at a building site in Durham, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Durham, Britain, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith

(Reuters) - Persimmon (PSN.L) will restart its construction sites in a phased manner from Monday, Britain’s second-largest housebuilder said on Friday, making it the third company in the sector this week to announce commencement of work.

The firm, which has not furloughed staff under the government’s COVID aid scheme, said it would only commence construction work where it was clear it was safe to do so.

Although work on building sites had not been barred in Britain, many companies shut down their construction sites last month due to concerns over social distancing and problems in obtaining materials.

Persimmon’s move follows Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) and Vistry (VTYV.L) saying on Thursday they will restart construction in the next two weeks.

The FTSE-100 company said online sales helped it secure about 820 gross private sales reservations in the five weeks ended April 19, adding that cancellations rates remained at historically low levels.

Persimmon also said it continued to pay all its supplier invoices, with 95% of invoices being settled within two months.

Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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