Housebuilder examines options for floating north American business to raise £600m

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey is considering a £600m float of its north American business, according to newspaper reports.

The Telegraph reported today that the number two UK housebuilder by turnover had appointed JP Morgan Cazenove to examine options for a demerger of the business. The paper said the move could lead to either a float or a sale of the division which would raise around £600m.

This would go a long way toward paying off the company's £750m debt mountain, a figure it has already reduced from £1.5bn at the end of 2008. On Monday, Taylor Wimpey chief executive Pete Redfern told analysts he had received offers for the business but there was “no active sale process” ongoing.

Cenkos analyst Kevin Cammack said in a note to investors this morning the story, if true, could be a good move for Taylor Wimpey, and could reap it as much as £800m. He said: “With the sector in recovery mode in the US and Morrison enjoying a decent reputation in the market, a demerger is certainly an option with the cash proceeds likely to substantially eliminate its net debt of £750m and allow it to re-invest in its UK housing business at least on a level playing field.”

Taylor Wimpey declined to comment on the Telegraph story.