French giant to keep contractor in one piece after deal that doubles its UK operations

Vinci has said it will keep Taylor Woodrow in one piece after buying it for £74m, a deal that doubles the size of its UK operations.

The acquisition, which was completed on Tuesday, ends Taylor Wimpey’s involvement in British contracting and brings Vinci’s UK turnover to £1.4bn. It will not result in office closures, but a Vinci spokesperson could not confirm that there would be no job losses.

She said: “They are complementary businesses. The only difference is that Taylor Woodrow will report to Vinci.”

Both companies have their head offices in Watford, and Taywood will continue to operate out of the same premises under Tim Peach, its managing director.

Vinci has 32 UK offices and 2,900 staff; Taywood has 1,700 employees across eight sites.

John Stanion, Vinci’s chairman and chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to combine our two businesses into what we intend will become one of the most proficient construction groups in the UK.”

It’s bloody great news. It allows us to concentrate on construction, so we feel like we’ve had the shackles taken off

Taywood employee

Taywood staff were quick to express their relief at the deal, largely because Taylor Wimpey recently plunged £1.5bn into the red as a result of the housing downturn.

One senior employee said: “It’s bloody great news. It allows us to concentrate on construction, so we feel like we’ve had the shackles taken off. The message is we’ll be left alone, provided we carry on making a profit – it’s music to our ears.”

Another employee added: “It’s great news that we’ll be part of a construction company. Not only that, one of the biggest in the world.”

According to a source close to the deal, the sale will not produce any cash for Taylor Wimpey because money transferred from the books of Taywood to Vinci will cancel out the sale price. “This was all about letting

Taylor Wimpey focus on its housebuilding problems,” he said.

There is an overlap between Vinci and Taywood in the rail, air, energy and facilities management markets, but the deal means Vinci will move into the £45bn Building Schools for the Future arena. A source close to Vinci said it was still looking for acquisitions and was “very keen on the PPP market”.