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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 11:58 GMT
Persimmon builds record profits
House under construction
Persimmon says interest rate rises have helped sustain its markets
Persimmon has reported a 33% rise in 2004 pre-tax profits to a record 470.4m, the highest ever profit figure from a UK building firm.

Persimmon said 2005 had started strongly, after trade cooled from May 2004, with the value of homes sold to date up 15% on the same time last year.

Company chairman Duncan Davidson said he had not found any slowing of the housing market in 2005.

"The western part of the country is the strongest at the moment," he said.

He said Persimmon was "working at the coal face" in "selling houses".

However, he added: "We are not being complacent. We have to keep working at it."

Persimmon shares were up 1% after the announcement before slipping back.

'Moving forward'

The group sold 12,360 properties in 2004 worth about 2.13bn.

I am confident that we will continue to move forward successfully
John White, Persimmon chief executive

Persimmon completed 11,273 homes during 2004 through its core housing business, selling at an average price of 164,488.

The group also stepped up output from its premium Charles Church brand by a further 10% to 1,087 homes.

These sold at an average price of 254,810.

So far in 2005, Persimmon has sold about 1bn worth of homes.

Price correction

Chief executive John White said the slowdown in the housing market in the last eight months of 2004, caused by interest rate rises and the threat of falling house prices, was "entirely necessary".

He said the dip had helped boost the sustainability of its markets.

"I'm therefore confident that, with the continued hard work, commitment and loyalty of our several thousands of staff, contractors and suppliers, we will continue to move forward successfully," he said.

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