The managing director of the region’s leading housebuilder, Persimmon Homes Thames Valley, says that a strong performance has helped the business to make an excellent start in the delivery of the company’s new long-term strategic plan. Ian Menham spoke as the housebuilder revealed its final figures for 2012. “We’re one of 24 regions across England, Wales and Scotland. The performance of the team here in Thames Valley helped the group increase legal completions of new homes by 6% to 9,903 at an average selling price of £175,640. Our revenues also increased by 12% to £1.72 billion compared to £1.54 billion in 2011.”
The group’s profitability continued to improve and operating margins for 2012 increased to 13% (2011: 10%). In the second half of 2012, further improvement was achieved to 13.7%.
Menham said that the opening of new sites was pivotal to the success of the business.
“Overall, the group opened 125 new sites during 2012 and here in the Thames Valley region we played our part by opening six new developments in Aylesbury, Bushey, Oxford, Slough and Stotfold. This all helped with local employment. Research shows that for every new home built, up to five new jobs are created so in the region last year we supported 2025 jobs in the region.
“2013 looks like being even busier, with plans to open a further nine sites in Bracknell, Enstone, Bushey, Haddenham, Uxbridge, Oxford, Hatfield and near High Wycombe The supply of new homes is an ongoing issue across the UK and our team is working hard to deliver a diverse range of local housing where it’s needed most through our brands Persimmon Homes, Charles Church and Westbury Partnerships. Government-backed schemes such as NewBuy and FirstBuy are offered by the region to either help people get onto the property ladder or move up.”
Acquiring land is key to Persimmon’s long-term success. In 2012 the group acquired circa 14,800 plots of land and anticipates opening some 90 new sites in the first half of 2013, a 40% increase on the first half of 2012.
Concluding, Menham said the results were good news for the delivery of the company’s new long-term strategy which was announced to the market in February 2012. “The strategy aims to return £1.9bn (£6.20 per share) of surplus capital to shareholders over a nine and a half year period ending in 2021, whilst at the same time building a stronger, larger business.
“The first cash return from the long-term capital return plan, 75p per share, will be made on June 28, subject to shareholders' approval.”