Taylor Wimpey mulling US disposal


Taylor Wimpey confirmed it is mulling bids for its US arm

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey confirmed it has received takeover approaches for its US business as it seeks to offload the division and concentrate on the UK.

Taylor said it was in the early stages of considering interest for the North American subsidiary, called Taylor Morrison.

The group – the UK’s second largest housebuilder – wants to concentrate on its domestic UK market, where it trades as Bryant Homes, Laing Homes and George Wimpey.

The news on the US business comes as Taylor said UK selling prices remained stable throughout the second half of 2010, leaving the average achieved across the year at £171,000 – up 7% on 2009.

But the number of completions fell 2% and the group said constrained mortgage lending would continue to hold the property market back in 2011.

Taylor said recent performance in the US division was expected to help pre-tax profits beat market forecasts – its second upgrade in as many months.

The group, which builds houses in the UK, US and Spain and Gibraltar, has also driven more cost savings than it expected.

In the UK, it slashed build costs by 10% in the first half of the year and is now expecting to beat targets for 2011 after driving further savings in the second half.

The US and Canadian business has also seen greater stability as the impact of the removal of buyer tax incentives starts to ease, with prices up 7% in 2010 despite remaining broadly flat in the second half. However, Spain remains a difficult market after the financial crisis hit the country hard.

Taylor is reviewing its strategy for the business and expects to “take a more aggressive approach to driving sales rates”, which it warned may lead to further write-downs. Shares in Taylor rose 4% after the US news and profit cheer.

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