THE RECENTLY appointed chief executive of Taylor Woodrow, Iain Napier, has said he wants to continue the rehabilitation of the group's contracting business by increasing the amount of work it does for its housebuilding arm.
Napier said 13% of the construction arm's £439m turnover last year came from its sister business. He said: "That's not as much as I would like and I want it to increase to 20% this year. We are focusing the business behind the Bryant housing brand and construction is there in a supportive but profitable role."

Napier, who started last month, said Taywood's contracting business should take on the group's large-scale, mixed-use brownfield developments. This would "minimise risk and maximise profit".

This strategy is part of a drive to rebuild Taywood's construction division after a restructuring over the past two years. Turnover there has remained below £500m after staff levels were cut by 800 to reduce overheads and the company became more selective about the contracts it took on in order to improve margins.

Napier said the restructuring had been successful as the construction arm's operating profit had increased from £1m in 2000 to £10.8m last year. The margin was 2.9%. He said: "We've really turned the business around well."

Group pre-tax profit for the year to 31 December rose 32% to £202m on turnover of £2.1bn. Taywood's housing businesses, which includes the Bryant brand that it acquired last year, returned an operating profit of £190.8m, 68% higher than the previous year.

Napier said the integration of Bryant, which had cost £9m, had gone well and would save the group £13m this year.

But Taywood's California operation posted a £12m operating loss as a result of the IT downturn.