Taylor Wimpey hit by overseas write-downs

The housebuilder Taylor Wimpey revealed a jump in underlying UK profits today, but racked up an overall loss thanks to hefty write downs in its overseas markets.

The group, which sells homes under the brands George Wimpey, Bryant Homes, G2, Wilson Connolly and Laing Homes, saw pre-tax profits in the UK rise 14 per cent to £608.5 million for 2007.

This came as the firm delivered improved margins to offset a 6 per cent fall in the number of completions in the UK last year to 20,690. Average selling prices nudged up to £188,000 from £186,000.

Poor conditions in the US - which accounts for nearly a fifth of total sales - and Spain saw the group take a near £300 million write off on land and property in the countries.

Taylor made an overall pre-tax loss of £19.5 million for 2007, compared to profits of £409.5 million the year before.

Chief executive Pete Redfern said he continued to anticipate a "more difficult" trading environment in the UK this year, with no "significant" improvement expected in the US either.

Shares fell 4 per cent as Taylor said its UK order book at the end of February was a fifth down on the prior year, the same position as at the year end. UK orders stood at £1.34 billion at February 29.

The group, which was created following July's merger of Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey, said although sales and cancellation rates had improved in the early part of the year, they were weaker than seasonal norms.

Cancellation rates for the latter half of last year were running above 30 per cent, compared to an average of 20 per cent.

Taylor said: "We anticipate that the current subdued conditions will continue, with interest rates and mortgage availability being key determinants of customer confidence."

UK revenues last year were £4 billion, down from £4.15 billion in 2006 as a result of the poorer completion levels last year.

In the US, the number of completed sales dived 24 per cent to 6,740 last year, with the average selling price falling to £175,000 from £202,000.

Taylor said it was not approving any more land purchases in the US while it worked to sell existing sites.

"Current conditions in the US require us to focus in the short to medium term on cost reductions and cash management," it said. House sales in Spain 44 per cent fell to 212.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada