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Taylor Wimpey posts £700m loss but says trading is 'encouraging'

3 Mar 10 Taylor Wimpey has posted a pre-tax loss of £699.9m for the year ending 31 December 2009, compared with a £1.97bn loss in 2008, but says trading is ‘encouraging’.

Taylor Wimpey has posted a pre-tax loss of £699.9m for the year ending 31 December 2009, compared with a £1.97bn loss in 2008, but says trading is ‘encouraging’.

The UK's second largest house builder by market value would have reported a loss of £96.1m (2008: £74.7m), had it not been for exceptional items totalling £603.8m.

These included land plus work-in-progress write-downs in the UK of £445m, North America of £78.7m and Spain / Gibraltar of £3.3m.

Taylor Wimpey’s turnover was more than 25% lower at £2,595.6m and the operating profit before finance costs, exceptionals and amortisation was £43.3m.

Of this operating profit, £14.3m was generated by the UK business (2008: £53.0m) and £48.1m by the North American business (2008: £59.9 million).

Taylor Wimpey said it has lowered its net debt to £751m pounds from £1.53bn at the end of 2008.

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The house builder sold 10,186 homes in the UK at an average selling price of £160,000, 4,755 homes in North America at an average selling price of £171,000, and 225 homes in Spain and Gibraltar at an average selling price of £260,000.

The house builder said that trading in the UK has continued to be “encouraging” during the first two months of 2010, with the improved conditions seen in 2009 still in evidence.

In North America, the stability seen in the US housing market during the majority of 2009 has continued into the early months of 2010.

Peter Redfern, group chief executive, said:"Trading conditions for our main businesses stabilised through 2009 and we were pleased to return to operating profit in both the UK and North America in the second half of the year.

"While we remain cautious, we are continuing to see slowly improving conditions across our main markets. Our active cost reduction, high quality landbank and strong order book position us well to increase profitability as markets recover."

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