Taylor Wimpey raises £522m in investor cash call for land-buying spree

Housebuilding giant Taylor Wimpey has raised £522 million through an investor cash call as it looks to take advantage of cheaper land amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The group said it had received “strong support” for the share placing with institutional and retail investors, having originally aimed to raise £500 million.

Taylor said it placed 355 million new shares at 145p each, along with a subscription of 324,823 from directors of the firm and a retail offer of 4.9 million shares.

Announcing the plans late on Wednesday, the company said it is “now seeing a significant opportunity to invest in land at attractive prices”.

Taylor said the disruption in Britain’s land market as result of the Covid-19 crisis has created “short-term opportunities to acquire land from a broad range of sources at attractive returns and prices below pre-Covid-19 levels”.

It has continued to actively acquire land throughout the pandemic, buying 12 sites in recent weeks.

Taylor Wimpey profits
Taylor Wimpey chief executive Pete Redfern (Taylor Wimpey/PA)

The group said the money raised – including £200,000 from chief executive Pete Redfern – would go towards another 13 sites it is currently buying as well as 60 more the group is in discussions to acquire.

Taylor also said it would pay back money used under the Government’s furlough scheme for workers.

As of June 1, all employees had returned from furlough, it added.

The group began a phased reopening of its building sites from May 4, though construction firms had been allowed to continue operating throughout the lockdown.

It also reopened its sales centres and show homes on May 22 for pre-booked appointments only.

The High Wycombe-based firm plans to return to around 80% of building capacity by the end of June.

It said recently that it has seen a “very high level of demand” for appointments after reopening the majority of its show homes and sale centres in England.

The firm told investors earlier this month that its order book is strong and that it has seen a “healthy increase in reservations” in recent weeks.

Announcing the share placing, Mr Redfern said: “We have seen robust demand for our homes throughout the lockdown period and have been encouraged by the continued resilience of the housing market as we have returned to our developments.

“Our order book remains strong, with a healthy increase in reservations in recent weeks.”

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