Wimpey takes over again as UK's biggest housebuilder with £300m Laing deal

George Wimpey recaptured its crown as Britain's biggest housebuilder yesterday after it snapped up John Laing's homes division in a deal worth about £300m.

The long-awaited sale of Laing Homes brings the former construction conglomerate to within a whisker of becoming a pure player in the private finance initiative (PFI) market.

Bill Forrester, Laing's executive chairman, said the deal provided the group with "financial muscle" to double in size over the next two years. He added that he was eyeing one or two acquisition targets.

Wimpey, primarily a mass-market housebuilder, is paying Laing £297m, including a £30m slice of intracompany debt. The amount, which is a small discount to the division's net asset value, will be paid in four cash instalments.

Peter Johnson, the chief executive of Wimpey, said the deal fitted with the group's strategy of developing a premium brand to increase the revenue it received from each plot of land. "We wanted an Audi alongside our Volkswagen," he said. Laing Homes has a strong presence in the South-East and the Midlands and the average selling price of one of its homes is £280,000, nearly twice that of an average Wimpey home.

The market broadly welcomed Wimpey's move, sending its shares 7.5p higher to 290p. Shares in John Laing slipped 2p to 143.5p.

Mr Johnson said the deal, which does not include Laing's US housebuilding arm, its luxury UK housing activities or its social housing operations, would enhance earnings immediately. Paying in four chunks would allow the group, which has one of the industry's shorter land banks, to press on with land purchases, he said.

The sale is the latest in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the sector. Last year, Persimmon bought Beazer Homes, Wimpey acquired McAlpine Homes and Taylor Woodrow bought Bryant Group.

Mr Johnson said consolidation remained "inevitable" in a still fragmented industry. Even with Laing Homes, Wimpey still has less than 10 per cent of the market.

Asked if the City apathy to the PFI sector had led Laing to question its decision to focus on infrastructure development, Mr Forrester said: "No. We are replacing a cyclical business with a predictable earnings business."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
News
This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
news
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
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

Citifocus Ltd: Product Development - Asset Management

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with significant product d...

Citifocus Ltd: Credit Ratings - Banking Sector

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Leading global bank seeks experienced credit analy...

Citifocus Ltd: Economic Crime Investigation & Analysis

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with a high degree...

Citifocus Ltd: Snr Risk Analyst - Capital & Liquidity

£Attractive: Citifocus Ltd: High calibre individual with superior academics an...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital