Chief executive John White denies claims that it was ill-prepared for Beazer takeover and treated staff badly.
Persimmon chief executive John White has defended his group's takeover of Beazer, which led to 660 job losses.

Speaking to Building for the first time since the acquisition, White said the losses had been necessary to ensure the success of the enlarged group.

White denied that Persimmon had been ill-prepared for the takeover and had treated Beazer staff badly. He said: "The acquisition certainly hasn't been bigger than we expected. We were geared up for it from day one.

"We have been intent on being straight with people and fair. A number of Beazer people who left have commented on how fairly they have been treated.

"My clear focus has been to look after all those people who remain employed by us, to make sure we continue to be successful."

Last week, former Beazer chief executive John Low settled his dispute with Persimmon over his severance package. It is understood that there are unresolved disputes with regional directors.

White said that bids had been received for Beazer Partnerships, the firm's social housing arm, and its support division Torwood, which makes prefabricated building components.

Bidders include Beazer Partnerships' executives, led by managing director John Cadwallader, and Countryside Properties. A preferred bidder is expected to be decided in the next few weeks, although White stressed that the businesses did not have to be sold at any price.

He said: "We have had good interest in it but we do not have to dispose of it unless we get a reasonable offer."

White admitted that there had been problems at Beazer's upmarket Charles Church brand, which he said was "lacking general construction disciplines".

This month Steve Watt, the former Persimmon City Developments chief, was appointed chairman of the division.

White said there were continuing problems at a completed Charles Church site in Surbiton, south-west London. Problems with roofing and sound insulation have led residents to move out of their properties temporarily.

He said: "We were aware of those problems and we couldn't wait to get in there to solve them."