Pre-tax profit increases to £281m but divisions report delays in obtaining planning consent

Persimmon has increased profit by 9.8% to £281.1m despite what it described as challenging market conditions.

Completions fell from 8,226 to 8,002 for the six months ended 30 June 2007, but the landbank rose 2,060 units to 82,145 over the period.

The group said all its divisions had sites that had been hit by problems in obtaining planning consent, but it said delays were offset by synergy savings and tight control of build costs.

John White, group chairman, said: "Persimmon continues to achieve industry high margins, supported by an excellent landbank, good forward sales and an experienced management team with a clear focus on cash management and continued improvement of shareholder returns."

The group said it had a quiet summer but anticipated a normal seasonal upturn in the Autumn.

£1.35bn sales for the second half of 2007 were ahead of last year's figure of £1.30bn.

The interin dividen increased 34% to 18.5p.