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Persimmon record profits

Persimmon has shrugged off a difficult first half of the year to post record pre-tax profits of £235 million.
The firm, the country's biggest house builder by market value, saw profit before tax rise 7 per cent on last year's £220 million.

Chairman Duncan Davidson said: 'The first six months of 2005 saw more difficult trading conditions for UK house builders than for many years. However, due to the inherent strengths of the business, we have continued to trade successfully.

'If current market conditions continue we would expect some further pressure in respect of increased sales costs, but we do not expect any reductions in margins in the second half.'

Turnover rose to £1.1 billion from £1 billion, while completions were at a similar level. Persimmon sold 5,954 homes at an average £183,581 compared with 6,058 at £171,082 last year.

Despite a cautious approach to land buying, Persimmon's land bank boasts 62,157 plots, with a further 19,000 acres of land for strategic developments working through the planning system.

Mr Davidson said: 'The recent reduction in interest rates, continuing low unemployment levels and the good fundamentals of the UK house building industry give us great confidence for the future.'

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