Persimmon closes offices, construction sites to combat Covid-19

Credit: Neil Hall/Reuters

From tomorrow (26 March), York-headquartered housebuilder, Persimmon, is shuttering all of its sales offices and instigating an orderly shutdown of its construction sites to help combat the spread of Covid-19.

As part of the housebuilder’s response to the pandemic, it has also cancelled its interim dividend and postponed payment of its final dividend.

Customers will continue to be supported either online or by phone, it said, adding that customer care visits will stop except for emergencies.

Meeting government measures, the company is closing all of its regional offices except for a skeleton crew available to facilitate the wider workforce working from home.

Construction sites are commencing an orderly shutdown with only “essential work” taking place which, the company said, will be focused on making partly built homes safe and secure and where failure to complete the build could put customers in a vulnerable position.

Despite these measures, the company said that it “remains confident” of its future prospects.

“Persimmon entered the current year with a strong balance sheet including cash holdings of £844m, land creditors of £435m (£268m payable over 2020) and industry leading land holdings of 93,246 plots owned and under control,” a statement from the company said.

“The decisions taken by the board today in no way diminishes its confidence in the long-term outlook for the company and the strength of the through-the-cycle model, which is set up to withstand reasonable downside scenarios and to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”

Dave Jenkinson, Group Chief Executive, said: “Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our customers, staff, contractors and suppliers and we have today set out a number of further measures throughout the business to protect them for the duration of the pandemic.

“We will listen carefully to the Government’s future advice as the situation develops and will make further adjustments where necessary.

“The Group’s long-term strategy of minimising financial risk and maintaining capital discipline over the long term through the housing cycle, ensures that we are well placed as we enter this period of uncertainty.

“Whilst the impacts of this pandemic go beyond the normal cyclical nature of the housing market, the Group’s high quality land holdings, significant liquidity and strong balance sheet will allow us to work through these challenges and emerge in a strong position for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”