Persimmon plans pounds 49m rights issue

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The Independent Online
PERSIMMON, the housebuilder, is aiming to boost its land bank by more than 30 per cent to 20,000 plots through a pounds 49m rights issue, writes John Shepherd.

Duncan Davidson, chairman, said Persimmon built 3,000 houses in 1993 and was planning to increase that to 3,500 this year.

'Our previously stated objective of 4,000 completions per annum now looks achievable in the near term,' he said.

There had, he said, been signs of an upturn in the UK housing market in the past few months. 'We are seeing a comfortable increase in the number of completions and inquiries. I will remain optimistic if these levels are maintained.'

The company also yesterday announced annual pre-tax profits of pounds 18.6m, up from a restated pounds 9.8m. Persimmon has prepared the figures on the incoming Fred 4 accounting guidelines.

As a result, it has excluded turnover and profit on units sold to Business Expansion Scheme companies where the units carry minimum re-sale value guarantees.

In 1993, of the 2,973 houses Persimmon legally completed, 202 were to such Business Expansion Schemes. This reduced 1993 profit by pounds 1.3m and by pounds 600,000 in 1992.

Investors are being asked to take up shares on a two-for-11 basis at 282p each. The price eased 4p to 333p on the cash call.

Mr Davidson and his wife Sarah, a non-executive director, do not intend to take up their rights entitlements. They hold 19 million shares, which will be equal to 16.4 per cent of the enlarged capital.

A 6.2p final dividend lifts payout for 1993 by 4.7 per cent to 9p.