Building company reports huge losses

PERSIMMON plc, parent company of Lowestoft-based Persimmon Homes Anglia, has today announced results for the financial year which has seen its profits reduced by a huge �458.

PERSIMMON plc, parent company of Lowestoft-based Persimmon Homes Anglia, has today announced results for the financial year which has seen its profits reduced by a huge �458.5 million in 12 months.

In their report issued today they say that trading conditions have been the most challenging in their recent history and the results for the period reflect the difficult market.

During the year Persimmon has restructured its business across the UK and has recently agreed new and amended credit facilities to provide further stability as it moves forward through what it's called 'difficult markets.'

Turnover for the year ended December 31, 2008, was �1.755 billion (2007: �3.015 billion) with underlying pre-tax profits of �126.6 million (2007: �585.1 million). These profits are stated before exceptional charges and goodwill impairment.

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John White, group chairman, said: 'This has been a difficult year for Persimmon and the industry as a whole. We have taken decisive steps to refocus the business accordingly and have generated significant cashflow. We will continue to reduce debt and we believe that, with a strong balance sheet and recently agreed financing, we have a strong platform for future growth.'

Andrew Fuller, managing director for Persimmon Homes Anglia, said: 'Clearly 2008 was our most challenging year of recent times. Despite this, interest rates continued to fall and now at 1pc are at an all time low, which we believe will help to reignite househunters' desire to move home this year.

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'Sales during the first half of last year were understandably slow due to consumer cautiousness, however during the second half of 2008 this figure did improve significantly, indicating a possible return to more stable market conditions. I am very pleased to note that in the first couple of months of 2009 sales have improved dramatically and week on week are more than double what they were last year. Whilst mortgage products were less obtainable last year, there are now more available to suit a wide variety of home buyers, and at lower interest rates. Clearly consumers understand that now is the time to buy, as indicated by our recent increase in sales.

'I am pleased to report that all our sites remained open last year and all have continued to sell. As demand has increased I am able to announce the commencement of three new developments in Norfolk and Suffolk, and plan to open many more during 2009. We now have 14 developments across East Anglia which allows us to continue to offer a full range of house types over an even wider geographical area. Notably our new development in Long Stratton opened for sale on February 28 and construction is fully underway. This development offers a variety of family homes within a fantastic community setting. Construction on our new sites in Barham and Lowestoft has also commenced and will be open for sales in the spring.

'I have every confidence that we are seeing a return to more buoyant housing market conditions.'

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