Laing Homes boss Steve Lidgate has hit back against continued speculation that the firm is up for sale.
Lidgate said the Laing group had no plans to dispose of the £381m turnover arm, despite continued City speculation and reports that Westbury is looking at Laing Homes' business in the South-east. He said: "We have not sought or are not seeking a sale of the business. It's pure speculation."

The continuing speculation has priced the firm, which operates in south-east England and the Midlands, at about £300m.

Lidgate added that despite two years of rumours over the future of the housebuilding arm, the group had received no offers for it. He said: "I would have thought that in two years somebody might have thought a bit about it."

According to Lidgate, the rumours have affected Laing staff. He said: "To say it is irritating is a bit strong. But I understand that for a large number of staff it's unsettling."

He added that there was no reason for the group to split its housing and PFI investment arms apart. "As such there is no real linkage between the two businesses, but what difference does that make? There are many firms out there that are groups of companies."

The Laing Homes chairman also claimed that the firm was not suited for consolidation as it operates from a short-term landbank. He said: "Most recent acquisitions in housebuilding, such as Wimpey and Persimmon's buys, have been about landbanks. We only have a two-year landbank – most of the land we are selling houses on we have only owned for a year to 18 months."

Lidgate said Laing was focused on turning Laing Homes into a niche housebuilder, operating in particular markets such as upmarket housing, retirement homes and social housing. The firm sold 1375 units last year at an average selling price of £227,000.

He said: "We are not a volume housebuilder. We are as far away from that description as it is possible to be. We do not have standard products – we are empowering staff to come up with innovations."