Persimmon cuts 1,100 jobs


Persimmon cuts 1,100 jobs
British housebuilder Persimmon has announced it is to cut 1,100 jobs over the course of 2008, following a turbulent six months in the industry.

Following what it describes as the "most challenging period" in recent history, the company has announced the measure as a way of cutting spending by £45 million this year.

Persimmon sold just 5,501 properties in the six months to June 30th, down 31 per cent on the same period of 2007.

Average selling prices of property also declined from £189,255 at the height of the boom in the first half of 2007, to £181,500 this year.

Total sales revenue for the period was £1 billion, a reduction of 34 per cent on the first half of last year, Persimmon said in a trading statement released today.

The news follows increasingly pessimistic speculation with regard to the company's future, following a spate of media reports at the weekend.

These latest results are in line with recent industry experience.

Barratt Developments has announced widespread job cuts, believed to be in the region of 1,000 positions, while Taylor Wimpey has confirmed it plans to seek additional finance, to the value of some £550 million.

Persimmon blames the crisis on "reduced availability of mortgage funds" and a "reduction in consumer confidence", both of which have precipitated a fall in average property prices.

The organisation is now preparing to ride out the storm, as house prices continue to fall.

"We have reappraised our business in the light of the significant change in trading conditions and have taken action to address the new challenges presented," said a statement from the company.

"We now have a lower level of overheads and structure appropriate for the current levels of business, whilst at the same time remaining well placed to achieve an increase in output whenever mortgage availability and the overall market improves."

Shares in Persimmon were down 3.95 per cent to 219 pence this morning at 08:12 BST.

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