Lucky swines. It seems half the UK construction industry is off sunning itself on the other side of the world.
Symonds chairman Chris Booy and former Ward Homes bosses David Holliday and Mike Williams [see above] are just three construction magnates who jetted off to Australia to watch England give the French a good thrashing in the semi-final of the rugger world cup on Sunday.

I watched the match in a far less glamorous way – on the telly from the comfort of my own bed. Not as raucous and entertaining as being in the heat of a beer-fuelled Australian stadium, but it certainly gave me the peace to reflect upon recent events in the industry.

Holliday and Williams might have celebrated the sale of Ward down under, but what does this mean for the firm's buyer, Wilson Bowden? It was the company's second acquisition in a week, having already splashed out £24m for Frenchay Developments. Although the moves have significantly boosted Wilson Bowden's landbank, the chaps and chapettes in the Square Mile were typically cautious at the speed of events and lowered its share price last week by 0.7% to 975p.

Wilson Bowden is still looking very hungry. Small housebuilders beware of being its next meal

Hunch of the week

In many ways, though, this wasn't too bad a result for Wilson Bowden. Several housebuilders last week took a bit of a France-style pasting. Most bizarrely, Barratt Developments slipped 5.2% to 488p. This was despite the highly impressive AGM statement made by Barratt chairman Charles Toner last Thursday. In it he claimed that in less than five months Barratt has already effectively secured 70% of its estimated sales for the full year. What a shame that such a positive statement gets treated so negatively by investors. Other housebuilders to fall included Taylor Woodrow by 4.2% to 232.75p and Wimpey by 10.5% to 311.5p.

Another sad story is that of Swan Hill. Now regular readers of this column will know of my affection for its chief executive John Theakston. I admit this is due to my desire to get free beer from his family, who founded the eponymous brewery, something that I have thus far failed to achieve.