However housebuilder loses finance director as housing market weakens

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has reached a provisional agreement on refinancing its £720m debt mountain and replaced its finance director, as sales have suffered over the autumn period.

The firm said that it has reached “full agreement” with its banks on an early re-financing of its £950m credit facility, which would remove many of the restrictions on land buying placed on it by its most recent refinancing. However, the agreement is conditional on the firm separately raising £350m of debt funding on the private or public debt markets.

It has reduced debt to £720m from £860m at the same point last year.

It also said today that group finance director Chris Rickard , who negotiated the deal, will leave to “pursue other opportunities” and be replaced by Ryan Mangold, currently Taylor Wimpey’s group financial controller.

However the firm said that sales in the second half of the year had fallen to 0.47 per site per week, from 0.58 in the first six months of the year, with the autumn period “weaker” than expected. In the second half of 2009 the company sold 0.48 homes per site each week.

The number of outlets the firm is selling from has also reduced, down to 277 at present from 295 in the first half of the year. In addition the firm’s order book for next year is £883m, compared to £964m in the same week last year.

In the interim management statement, the firm said: “Trading since the half year has been in line with our overall expectations, with sales over the summer slightly ahead and the autumn marginally below as customers awaited the announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review.  We have seen an incremental improvement in sales since the announcement, but mortgage availability remains a constraint on industry volumes.”

It said it did not expect any improvement in trading for the remainder of this year “due to the continuing impact of constrained mortgage lending and ongoing wider economic uncertainty.” 



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