PERSIMMON has said Omicron disruption has hit its workforce, supply chains and customer support services in an update that showed wider revenues approaching pre-pandemic levels.

The housebuilder, which has sites across Scotland, said it “maintained its focus” to manage coronavirus challenges after a pick-up in sickness-related absences, with some home-buyers also choosing to delay moving into their new home.

Its full-year update showed group revenues reached £3.61 billion in 2021, up eight per cent on 2020 and close to recovering to pre-pandemic levels, at 1% below the £3.65bn posted in 2019.

Average private selling prices lifted around 3% to £259,200 over the year, with 14,551 homes sold, an increase of 7%.


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Its forward orders slipped to £1.62bn from £1.69bn in 2020, though they were up around a fifth when compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Dean Finch, Persimmon chief executive, said: “Whilst the industry continues to face the ongoing operational and economic challenges as a consequence of the pandemic, particularly as the Omicron outbreak unfolded in the last six weeks of the year, the group continues to manage these ongoing challenges comprehensively.

“We have continued to secure high quality land opportunities, bringing over 20,500 new plots into the business in 2021 representing in excess of 140% of current consumption levels. This strong pipeline provides excellent momentum for the group’s future growth.”

Oli Creasey, property research analyst at Quilter Cheviot, described the statement as providing mixed results. “Completion volumes were slightly below guidance of 10% year-on-year growth, with just 14,551 new homes completed, up 7%, and below 2019 levels,” he said. “However, this was offset slightly by average selling prices growing 3%, slightly ahead of consensus. We interpret this as a focus on quality over volume, which seems appropriate in our view.”

Andy Murphy, director at Edison Group, said: “Market fundamentals remain positive and although the number of active sites fell from 305 to 285 in H2, the company anticipates opening 75 in H1 2022, subject to planning consents.”

The firm also announced a new chief financial officer, Jason Windsor, after Mike Killoran announced his retirement. Mr Windsor has been group chief financial officer of Aviva since 2019, having previously held a similar role in its UK Insurance and UK Life businesses having joined the company in 2010. Prior to that he spent 15 years at Morgan Stanley, latterly as managing director in investment banking.

Persimmon shares closed down 0.5% at 2,608p.