Persimmon records a pre-tax profit of £495.4m despite challenging market conditions.

Persimmon has posted record results after beginning the integration of Westbury, which it acquired earlier this year.

The housebuilder has reported a pre-tax profit in 2005 of £495.4m, up 5.9% on 2004, on turnover of £2.29bn, up from £2.13bn.

The firm's house sales edged up from 12,360 in 2004 to 12,636, with an average selling price of £180,892, compared to £172,431 the previous year.

Persimmon's acquisition in January of Westbury for £623m was a further highlight of the year, although it has not affected this morning's results.

Duncan Davidson, group chairman said: "2005 was another record year for Persimmon. It was also hugely significant for the Group, with the announcement in November 2005 of our £643 million successful offer for Westbury plc.

"I am pleased to report that the initial stages of integration have been completed to plan. Looking forward, we have seen a good start to 2006 with good forward sales in most areas. Current visitor levels to our developments across the UK are encouraging."

"As announced last year, John White will take over my position as group chairman at the AGM on 20 April 2006, and Mike Farley will become chief executive. I am proud to have led Persimmon for 34 years, and know that the growth and success of the group will continue unabated thanks to the efforts of all our staff."

The firm also revealed a new divisional structure to deal with the enlarged business, now divided into three regions: central, north and south.