Housebuilder Persimmon is amalgamating its operation into two new divisions.

Persimmon Homes South will be led by Mike Farley and Persimmon Homes North, which will operate north of Nottingham and include Scotland, will be run by John Millar. Until now, the company had four regions: Southern, Central, Yorkshire and Northern.

The company reported record pre-tax profit of £81.6m for the year to 31 December 1999. It built 7101 homes, up from 6483 in 1998, at an average selling price up 11% to £96 055.

White said he was confident that the current housing market was not overheating and warned the government against further interest rate increases. “The recent spate of rises has had the desired effect, and to go any further would penalise people in the North and elsewhere,” he said.