January 15, 2020 / 8:02 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Persimmon annual sales dented by delayed homes, sees profit in line

(Adds details on outlook, background)

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Britain’s second-largest homebuilder Persimmon Plc on Wednesday reported lower annual sales as it delayed rolling out homes to address concerns about quality and improve customer service.

The company, however, said it expects pretax profit to be in line with market estimates and that it was in a strong position for the upcoming spring season.

“Our regional housing markets across the UK continued to benefit from resilient consumer confidence throughout 2019, supported by low interest rates, a competitive mortgage market, and robust employment levels,” the company said.

Over the past year, Persimmon has faced extensive criticism over the standard and safety of its houses, as well as a row over management bonuses. The company builds homes in more than 350 locations in the UK.

In December, it set up a group of construction professionals to look into its business practices after an independent review found that the blue-chip company needed to improve the quality of its homes and review executive bonuses.

The FTSE 100 company, which competes with Taylor Wimpey Plc and Barratt Developments Plc, reported a 2.4% drop in sales to 3.65 billion pounds for the year ended Dec. 31, with average selling prices slightly higher at 215,700 pounds.

Analysts on an average expect annual pretax profit of 1.04 billion pounds ($1.35 billion), according to company compiled estimates.

$1 = 0.7679 pounds Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Bernard Orr

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