Market watch: Persimmon poised to please investors with increased sales

SCOTLAND’S biggest housebuilder, Persimmon, will shine the spotlight on the current state of the UK housing market tomorrow.

The firm, which has operations in Bathgate and Hamilton, claimed its prospects were excellent earlier this year as it earmarked £1.9 billion to return to shareholders over the next decade.

The group says it has ridden out the weak housing market by focusing on building family homes in affluent areas and benefiting from a resurgence in the first-time buyer market.

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Persimmon, whose brands include Charles Church and Westbury, reported a 20 per cent rise in its weekly sales rate for the first quarter of 2012 and said visitor levels at its sites were about 10 per cent higher.

Its first quarter benefited from a rush from first-time buyers to take advantage of a stamp duty holiday, while the launch of the UK government’s NewBuy 95 per cent loan-to-value mortgage guarantee product is expected to have continued to stimulate demand.

A boom in home baking is set to drive further growth at the owner of sugar brand Whitworths tomorrow.

Liverpool-based Real Good Food reported that underlying profits more than doubled to £5.7 million in 2011. Because of a change in its reporting dates, it will provide a fresh set of figures for the year to March, which are expected to show that the strong trading has continued.

International Greetings, which makes half the gift wrap sold in the UK, is expected to report a sharp rise in profits on Wednesday.

The company, the official supplier of Christmas crackers to the Queen and which also makes cards and stationery, has said profits for the year to end-March will be at the top end of City expectations after a strong final quarter.


Monday: Hydrogen, Omega Diagnostics, OPG Power Ventures

Tuesday: Anite, N Brown, Persimmon, Real Good Food, St Modwen Properties

Wednesday: CSF Group, International Greetings, Topps Tiles

Thursday: Begbies Traynor Group, Caledonia Investments, NCC Group, Robert Walters