Loss of 800 backroom jobs over 18 months frees up funding for acquisitions and internal growth.
Taylor Woodrow says it intends to grow its construction arm, despite axing more than 800 employees across the group in the past 18 months.

New construction managing director Andrew Wyllie said the division would expand organically and through acquisitions, which he said were planned for next year.

More details on the expansion will be given in the firm's 2002-4 business plan, which is due to be released later this year.

Wyllie said: "The acquisitions are not planned yet for any particular sector, but will be in sectors that focus on existing clients needs."

Taywood's construction turnover has remained fairly static at about £500m over the past two years, despite the integration of Bryant's £110m construction business.

Wyllie, who took over in July, said Taywood would now concentrate on growing contracting turnover, and on retaining high-profile clients such as BAA and Tesco. The firm will also focus on high-risk specialist engineering jobs.

Wylie is keen to capitalise on Bryant's retail and commercial operations in the Midlands.

The acquisitions will focus on existing clients’ needs

Andrew Wyllie, managing director, Taywood Construction

The growth comes after Taywood cut 800 staff in the past 18 months to scale down operations, reduce overheads and fund acquisitions.

Most of the job cuts were in the firm's back office, but positions were also lost on its executive board, which has been cut to four members. The firm now employs only 188 non-site workers.

The period of consolidation enabled Taywood to cut overheads by £15m in a year, from £36m at the end of 1999 to £21m at the end of 2000. In the same period, the group's contracting turnover fell from £511m to £500m, despite the acquisition of Bryant.

Wyllie rejected speculation that Bryant Construction was to be sold, adding that the integration of the two groups had gone very well.

He said Taywood and Bryant employees freely move around the two groups, but projects managers remain on the projects they were working on before the takeover.

He said "Taywood invests very heavily in IT training so the new Bryant employees had some catching up to do, but so far there have been no problems."