June 17, 2020 / 5:10 PM / 2 months ago

Taylor Wimpey launches $626 million share sale, to resume dividends in 2021

FILE PHOTO: A Taylor Wimpey closed building site, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in St Albans, Britain, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - Builder Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) said on Wednesday it intends to resume dividends in 2021 and launched a share sale to raise about 500 million pounds ($626 million), as it looks to take advantage of a fall in land prices due to the COVID-19 crisis.

UK’s third-largest homebuilder said its forward indicators remained strong and its order book has increased, with a 176% jump in appointments booked and a 51% increase in website visits in the three weeks since sales centres reopened in England.

The company’s UK order book stood at about 2.86 billion pounds as of the week ending June 14, compared to 2.54 billion pounds last year.

“While at this stage it is too early to resume full guidance, the impact of the lockdown on build programmes will push the Company’s Q4 2020 completions into 2021, leading to a meaningful reduction in 2020 volumes, Taylor Wimpey said.

The company expects improvements to its 2021 capacity, but said it was unlikely to fully rebound to prior levels. Total completions in the 24 weeks to June 14 were 2,531, compared to 4,526 a year earlier.

Over the recent weeks, the company has agreed to buy 12 sites for around 136 million pounds and plans to buy 13 more.

Taylor Wimpey said it intends to return taxpayer funds utilised from the government’s furlough scheme following its positive trading update.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta

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