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The FTSE 100 housebuilder Persimmon pushed up pre-tax profit by 23 per cent to £775m in the year to December as it built more homes and sold them at a higher profit margin.

The group, which is the UK’s second-largest housebuilder, increased its output by 4 per cent to 15,000 homes, and pushed up its operating margin to 25 per cent from 22 per cent a year earlier.

It will increase its dividend payouts as a result, paying out an additional 25p a share in March, increasing the value of its long-term payout programme to £9.25 a share by 2021.

Nicholas Wrigley, chairman, said:

The group has now completed the first five years of its long term strategy which remains focused on growing Persimmon into a stronger, larger business while maintaining capital discipline and robust free cash generation.

He said the group had increased completions by more than 60 per cent since the start of that strategy and spent £2.6bn on land. “Customer activity in the early weeks of the 2017 spring season has been encouraging,” he added.

Revenues for the full year were up 8 per cent to £3.1bn, boosted in part by a 3.8 per cent increase in the average selling price of Persimmon’s homes to £207,000.

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