Taylor Wimpey returns to profit

City A.M. Reporter
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey swung to an underlying annual profit, ahead of expectations, and said it was evaluating proposals for its North American business.

The builder is in the process of selling its Taylor Morrison operations to pay down debt and focus on its domestic market, with a growing list of potential buyers, including Canada's privately-held Mattamy Homes and Meritage Homes Corp according to sources.

Taylor Wimpey, the country's third largest homebuilder by value, reported a pretax profit before exceptional items of £75.1m in the 12 months to end-Dec, compared with a loss of 96.1 million in 2009.

The builder said it would continue to run the business cautiously, despite encouraging sales rates and prices achieved on new sites, as weak mortgage availability and uncertainty in the wider economy weighs on the sector.

Rival Persimmon said on Tuesday it was encouraged by the market place so far this year, though new data pointed to a sluggish housing activity.

Taylor Wimpey said it was on track to meet its target of double-digit operating margins in 2012, and that net debt shrunk to £654.5m from £750.9m in 2009.