Persimmon speeds up payouts as profits soar

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Britain’s largest housebuilder today said it was accelerating the pace of its capital return plan after reporting a 49 per cent surge in annual profits.

Persimmon, which two years ago pledged to return £1.9 billion to shareholders over nine-and-a-half years, has already paid out £228 million. Following consultations with investors, the firm will be bringing forward some payments and raising this year’s payout from 10p to 70p.

Underlying pre-tax profits at the group jumped to £330m in 2013, up from £222m the previous year, as the improving housing market drove revenues 21 per cent higher to £2.1bn.

Chairman Nicholas Wrigley said: “Persimmon achieved a strong result for the year as we responded quickly to the increased customer demand that resulted from improved mortgage lending, the introduction of Help to Buy in April 2013 and the increase in consumer confidence as the UK returned to more meaningful economic growth.

“The group entered 2014 with a very strong forward order book and the early weeks of the spring selling season have been encouraging.”