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UK's Persimmon sees higher 2021 margin, names Jason Windsor as CFO

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Buildings and construction cranes are seen through a heat haze in London, Britain, May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

(Reuters) -Britain’s No. 2 homebuilder Persimmon (LON:) Plc forecast on Thursday a higher operating margin for the 2021 fiscal year as demand for new homes remained strong, and also named Aviva (LON:)’s Jason Windsor as its chief financial officer.

The preference for larger homes suitable for remote working, cheap loans and an extended tax break that expired in September have kept the undersupplied UK housing market resilient during the pandemic.

Red-hot house prices in the UK have helped homebuilders stave off cost pressures from supply chain disruptions and labour shortages, caused partly by Brexit and the coronavirus crisis.

Persimmon said it is expecting 2021 underlying operating margin to be about 28%, 0.4 percentage points above the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 8.4% to 3.61 billion pounds ($4.95 billion) for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, as the company constructed 14,551 new homes, compared with 13,575 units a year earlier.

The company said forward sales, the contract signed between buyers and homebuilders for a purchase-and-sale agreement at a fixed future date, stood at 1.62 billion pounds, as at Dec. 31, 20% ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

Persimmon said Windsor, who was the group CFO with insurance firm Aviva Plc, is expected to join the British homebuilder during the summer.

Persimmon’s current CFO Mike Killoran had said last July that he would be retiring in mid-January 2022 after more than 25 years with the group.

($1 = 0.7289 pounds)

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