As Taylor Woodrow puts in its order for Wilson Connolly, it gets a chance to see just what a plump prospect Wilcon makes
Taylor Woodrow is set to join the boys at the top table. If the £480m bid for Wilson Connolly, announced this week, is accepted by shareholders, it will become the fourth biggest housebuilder in the UK, just behind George Wimpey, Persimmon and Barratt.

The offer, revealed by Building last Friday, was confirmed at the London Stock Exchange on Monday. If it goes through, Taylor Woodrow could soon be building more than 10,000 homes a year, up from 6200 at the moment.

Being bigger has its advantages. It will raise Taylor Woodrow's profile on the stock market and the £1.4bn capitalisation will push them towards the FTSE 100. It would also provide Taylor Woodrow with a meaty land bank, and Wilson Connolly's chief executive Graeme McCallum also says that the larger size will help with planning consents on large brownfield sites.

The Wilson Connolly brand Wilcon Homes will become part of Taylor Woodrow's Bryant Homes. The UK business will then be split into three regions, one of which will be headed up by McCallum. Other members of Wilson Connolly's top brass would be surplus to requirements, including chairman Allan Leighton. The takeover would lead to 300 redundancies in total – 6% of the total workforce – with most cuts being made at senior and support staff level across both companies.

It's been a good week for Taylor Woodrow, which announced that pre-tax operating profits had risen 15% from £108.1m to £130.1m in the six months to 30 June 2003. Wilson Connolly also reported healthy results this week, results that made clear exactly why it had become a tempting morsel for Taylor Woodrow. Its pre-tax profits rose from £19.1m to £30.2m, an increase of 58%.