Taylor Wimpey mulls US bids

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The Independent Online

Taylor Wimpey confirmed it had received takeover approaches for its US business yesterday as the housebuilder seeks to offload the unit 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 came 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 per cent on 2009.

But the number of completions fell 2 per cent, 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 to 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 achieved higher than expected cost savings. In the UK, it slashed build costs by 10 per cent in the first half of the year and is now expecting to beat targets for 2011 after making further savings in the second half. The US and Canadian business has also seen greater stability, with prices up 7 per cent in 2010 despite remaining broadly flat in the second half. However, Spain remains a difficult market after the financial crisis hit the country hard.