Pre-tax profit soars but completions rise only marginally

The UK’s largest housebuilder Persimmon has hit a profit margin of nearly 25% in strong full-year results for 2016.

The firm’s margin actually hit nearly 26% in the second half of the year.

Full-year pre-tax profit was up nearly a quarter to £775m, while completions rose just 4% to 15,171.

The firm also revealed a surprise jump in planned pay-outs to shareholders, with investors set to receive an annual interim dividend of 25p on top of their existing annual 110p dividend up to 2021.

Jeff Fairburn, Persimmon cheif executive, said the firm would target further margin growth by cutting construction overheads and increasing its use of off-site timber and concrete brick work.