Persimmon Says $2.9 Billion Dividend Plan Ahead of Schedule

Persimmon Plc, the U.K.’s largest homebuilder by market value, said it’s ahead of schedule on a plan to return 1.9 billion pounds ($2.9 billion) to shareholders and intends to pay an early 10 pence a share dividend next year. The stock gained as much as 2.6 percent.

The payment would move up about 30 million pounds of dividends that had been set for 2015, Persimmon, said in a statement today. The York, England-based company said its board will seek approval for the move at next year’s annual general meeting.

The homebuilder in February 2012 said it planned to give 1.9 billion pounds of capital to shareholders over a nine-and-a-half year period ending in 2021. The first payment of about 228 million pounds, or 75 pence a share, will be paid to investors in June, subject to shareholder approval at a meeting today.

Investors had been set to receive the next dividend of 95 pence a share in June 2015 and today’s announcement moves part of the about 287 million-pound distribution up by a year.

Persimmon in February said annual profit rose 56 percent as the company sold more homes at higher prices. The company abandoned high-volume homebuilding after the financial crisis and focused on houses rather than apartments in urban areas to increase margins.

Persimmon was up 2.4 percent to 1,132 pence at 9:08 a.m. in London. It’s the best performer in the Bloomberg EMEA Homebuilder’s Index this year with a gain of about 42 percent.

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