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18 Jun 2020 | 07:13

Taylor Wimpey raises £515m to grab more land

(Sharecast News) - Taylor Wimpey said its share placing had raised £515m to take advantage of coronavirus lockdown-related disruption to the market for development land. The placing, announced on Wednesday night, was completed at 145p a share. The housebuilder said competition for land had eased because smaller and medium-sized builders are constrained by "weaker balance sheets and reduced cashflows".

Taylor Wimpey said that it had identified short-term opportunities to buy land from a range of sources at attractive returns and prices below lockdown levels. Terms have been agreed on 25 sites and the builder is in talks to acquire a further 60.

It added that it would return funds it had accepted from the government's furlough scheme.

"We have taken decisive and early action to conserve cash and increase flexibility through the pandemic and we are now seeing a significant opportunity to invest in land at attractive prices," said chief executive Pete Redfern.

The company temporarily closed its sites during the lockdown. Weekly sales rate per outlet was 0.97 in the first quarter before the shutdown; that fell to 0.3 during, but has recovered to 0.62.

It reported a 176% rise in appointments booked and 51% increase in website visits compared with the same period last year since sales centres reopened in England.

The builder said that it was too early to resume financial guidance, but added that it expected a "meaningful reduction" in completions this year as a result of the lockdown.
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