Persimmon won’t dwell on past dividends

Even amid the furore over build quality and the fat pay packet of its former boss, Jeff Fairburn, Persimmon could count on two things to keep investors onside. One, wide operating margins that trounced peers, and two, a bumper dividend. A slide in the housing market has removed the bait.

The FTSE 100 group has slashed its dividend, declaring a final payment of just 60p for last year, with the same amount targeted for this year. That is the lowest annual cash return in more than a decade, and equates to a dividend yield of 4.6 per cent. Persimmon faces several challenges to its margin if conditions don’t improve. A crisis of confidence among potential buyers and a near doubling in mortgage borrowing rates over