Taylor Woodrow was this week forced to defend its decision to keep its construction business after it bought rival housebuilder Bryant earlier this year.
As Taywood announced its interim results, analysts questioned why the enlarged group had kept its construction arm when most of its business and profitability came from housebuilding.

One said: "Not many other major housebuilders have a construction division any more, so some can't see the point of it."

But Taywood said its construction business, which has performed poorly for a number of years, fitted well into the restructured group. The reorganisation of the business involved the loss of more than 800 staff across the group.

These cost-cutting measures appear to have worked: the construction business made an operating profit of £5.6m after a £600,000 loss last year. The margin was 2.9%.

Throughout the group, pre-tax profit was up 16% to a record £103.8m for the six months to 30 June. Turnover increased 33% to £977m after the £535m takeover of Bryant. But earnings per share fell from 16.4p last year to 13.8p in 2001.

Bryant Homes, the brand for the combined housing businesses, reported a massive increase in operating profit – up to £50.6m compared with £14.9m for the same period last year. It is now the UK's fourth-largest housebuilder, with sales for the period of 2121 and an average selling price of £152,000.

Taywood's US division suffered a slip in demand because of the economic downturn. Despite this, the its operating profit increased 19% to £28.8m.

The integration of Bryant cost Taywood £8.3m, but the group said the £15m annual savings touted at the time of the deal were secure.

The group's property development and investment division's operating profit was static at £23.7m, but turnover increased from £61.3m to £82.4m.