Housebuilder Bryant has posted a pre-tax profit of £42m for the six months to November 2000, up 4% on 1999.
Bryant, which last week agreed a £535m takeover bid from Taylor Woodrow, improved returns despite a slight fall in turnover, which was down £4m to £335m.

Chairman Hubert Reid said the increase in profit was achieved despite difficult trading conditions, especially during summer. He said buyer confidence was low after the withdrawal of mortgage tax relief and the increase in stamp duty.

Net debt rose from £81.4m last year to £124.4m, partly because of a £31m share buy-back last autumn.

Reid commented on the Taywood deal, saying that it offered superior value for shareholders.

Under the terms of takeover, Taywood paid 80p in cash and 0.72 of a share for every Bryant share. It is due to be put to an EGM on 12 February.

Bryant's share price rose 1p to 199p after the results were announced.