* Forecasts 2021 underlying oper margin of 28% vs 27.6% year
* Says 2021 new homes completions at 14,551 vs 13,575 in
* Annual group revenue rises 8.4% to 3.61 bln pounds
Jan 13 (Reuters) - Britain's No. 2 homebuilder Persimmon Plc
forecast on Thursday higher profit margins for the 2021
fiscal year as demand for new homes remained strong, and also
named Aviva's Jason Windsor as its chief financial officer.
Shares in the company, however, fell 3% by 0927 GMT.
Analysts at J.P.Morgan said Persimmon's statement was a mixed
bag, with "slightly softer than expected volumes offset by
better average selling prices and margins".
Persimmon's update also coincides with a tough week for UK
homebuilders on the regulatory front after Britain asked top
firms to pay for a larger share of the estimated 15 billion
pound ($20.60 billion) cost of removing flammable cladding on
Other housebuilders, including top player Barratt and
No.3 Taylor Wimpey <TW.L also saw their stocks decline, with the
homebuilders' index down 3.3%.
Smaller rival Countryside Properties fell about 22%
after flagging weak first-quarter performance and announcing
the departure of its CEO.
UK homebuilders, nevertheless, have outperformed the broader
real estate sector since the coronavirus pandemic as the
preference for larger homes suitable for remote working, cheap
loans, and an extended tax break that expired in September have
kept the undersupplied housing market resilient.
Red-hot house prices in the UK have helped homebuilders
stave off cost pressures from supply chain disruptions and
Persimmon said it expects its 2021 underlying operating
margin to be about 28%, 0.4 percentage points above the year-ago
period, while revenue rose 8.4% to 3.61 billion pounds.
The company constructed 14,551 new homes, compared with
13,575 units a year earlier, while forward sales, the contract
signed between buyers and homebuilders for a purchase-and-sale
agreement at a fixed future date, stood at 1.62 billion pounds,
20% ahead of pre-pandemic levels.
Persimmon also said Windsor, the group CFO with insurance
firm Aviva Plc, is expected to join the company during
the summer and will replace current CFO Mike Killoran, who is
retiring this month.
($1 = 0.7289 pounds)
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by
Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Kim Coghill)