* To pay out 250 mln stg in 2014-2015, more from 2016
* FY pretax profits rise 48 pct to 268.4 mln stg
* Completes 11,696 homes in 2013
By Brenda Goh
LONDON, Feb 26 Shareholders in British
housebuilder Taylor Wimpey are set to pocket an extra 250
million pounds ($417 million) in dividends over the next two
years, benefiting from a housing market recovery that has
boosted builders' profits.
Taylor Wimpey Chief Executive Pete Redfern said on Wednesday
the special dividends - which are on top of regular payouts -
were likely to be just a start, as the firm tempers purchases in
a land market which he said was starting to heat up.
That's good news for the shareholders, but could anger many
first-time buyers who argue that a shortage of supply is driving
up the cost of new homes to unaffordable levels.
British house prices rose by 8.4 percent in 2013, mortgage
lender Nationwide said in January. A Reuters poll of 27
economists and analysts forecast house prices would rise by
another 7 percent this year.
Taylor Wimpey said it would pay a 50 million pound special
dividend in July 2014 and another 200 million pounds in July
2015, with plans for more after that.
"It isn't just a 2014, 2015 event - we see it as being an
ongoing part of the strategy," Redfern told Reuters. "We do see
the 200 million pounds that we are proposing for 2015 as being a
signal of the rough (annual) size."
Taylor Wimpey also increased its regular full-year dividend
to 0.69 pence a share from 0.62 pence in 2012.
Other housebuilders have also announced similar big payouts
to shareholders. Persimmon on Tuesday brought forward
its 1.9 billion pound distribution plan, while Berkeley Group
accelerated a dividend payout to shareholders in
Britain's housing market recovery picked up last year after
the government launched a scheme to help struggling house buyers
to obtain mortgages, shoring up demand for the homes built by
the likes of Taylor Wimpey but leading some economists to fret
about the possible emergence of a house price bubble.
Taylor Wimpey said its profit before tax and exceptional
items for the year to Dec. 31 rose 47.6 percent to 268.4 million
pounds, with revenue up 13.7 percent to 2.3 billion pounds.
The company was expected to post pretax profits of 254-331
million pounds, a Thomson Reuters survey of 14 analysts showed.
Taylor Wimpey's order book at Feb. 23 stood at 1.49 billion
pounds. It completed 11,696 homes over 2013, and said it had
sold about 55 percent of its expected 2014 completions.
Panmure Gordon analyst Mark Hughes said that while Taylor
Wimpey's results and dividend plans were positive, the stock and
sector had had such a strong run that investors were now looking
to take profit.
At 1015 GMT, Taylor Wimpey shares were down 3.7 percent at
123.1 pence, compared with a 2.5 percent decline in the Thomson
Reuters UK Housebuilding Index. That index has
surged by 57 percent over the past year.