Persimmon PLC keeps cash coffers topped up through coronavirus lockdown

PLC () reported that cash levels, forward home sales and house prices have all remained fairly stable during the coronavirus lockdown.

Confirming that its building sites were getting back to work this week, the FTSE 100 housebuilder revealed that cash levels stood at £600mln as of 24 April, down from £610mln on 20 March and £844mln at the end of December.

This was generated by completing the sale of 948 homes in the period while keeping its discipline on costs and spending.

READ: Persimmons to re-open sites with social distancing measures in place

The current forward sales position stood at £2.4bn, including legal completions taken to date in 2020, compared to £2.7bn this time last year, with an average private selling price of £244,500 versus £237,850 a year ago.

 said it had not made use of the government’s job retention scheme while also hammering home various commitments to colleagues and society during the coronavirus crisis, with the statement published ahead of its annual shareholder meeting later on Wednesday. 

Analysts at Liberum said that the resilience of cash flow was “surprisingly strong”. 

“It has given no useful information in the statement about reservations or cancellations in the period, but has at least confirmed that prices are firm.”

Shares in the company fell in early trading but as noon approached were up almost 1% to 2,228p, where they are still down 18% since the start of the year. 

“There remains considerable uncertainty around the earnings outlook, but the focus will now shift to demand patterns away from operational disruptions,” said analysts at UBS in a note. “In that regard, pricing has remained stable over recent weeks and cancellations rates are normal.”

With  talking up its society and governance credentials, including eschewing of the government’s furlough or other schemes, the UBS analysts said they think “this has allowed the group to be quicker than others in recommencing operations and we think may also provide some benefit in the future when the group may want to decide to return to larger dividend payments”.

Read MorePersimmon PLC keeps cash coffers topped up through coronavirus lockdown

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