Profit Up 40% At Persimmon Plc

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The share price of UK housebuilder Persimmon (LSE: PSN) is largely unchanged this morning, despite the company reporting good growth in both sales and profits in its half- year results.

Underlying pre-tax profit was up 40%, at £135.3m, on revenue that had increased 12%, to £899.9m. The company also saw a "strong improvement" in its operating margin, which grew by 300 basis points to 15.1%, up from 2012's 12.1%.

Persimmon also started on its "Capital Return Plan", under which it aims to return a total of £1.9 billion of surplus capital -- £6.20 per share -- to shareholders by 2021. The first payment -- 75p per share -- was made at the end of June, and the board has indicated its intention to make a payment of 10p per share next June , in "part acceleration" of the next scheduled payment of 95p.

Commenting on the results, Persimmon chairman Nicholas Wrigley said:

"During the first half of 2013 we have invested further in the business in support of increasing our future volumes.

"In addition to good growth in sales and profits we have also reached our target margin range of 15-17% eighteen months ahead of plan. Our focus remains on the delivery of our long term strategy and we are well placed to continue to make good progress."

At the time of writing Persimmon's share price is 1,175p. That's up over 46% so far in 2013, and over 66% on this time last year.

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> Jon doesn't own shares in Persimmon.