A substantial jump in orders, lower cancellations, and restructured debt has Taylor Wimpey, the U.K.-based holding company for Taylor Morrison in the United States, cautiously optimistic that a market turnaround is on its way, if not already here, and confident it will be positioned to profit from it.
That said, the company's U.K. market, which started falling after the U.S. market, appears to be recovering faster than its North American operations. Before its annual meeting June 19, Taylor Wimpey reported a 73% increase in its total sales orders since the beginning of 2009, up to 971 million pounds from 562 million pounds in Great Britain. Those sales are expected to come at a slight loss, but close enough to break even to have Taylor Wimpey considering increasing prices and looking for potential land deals in the land-constrained U.K. market.
The improvement in orders in the North American market since Jan. 1 was much smaller, just shy of 19%, $846 million versus $711 million, and came more recently than the U.K. improvement. However, the North American home sales are more likely to be profitable than houses sold in the United Kingdom, Redfern said, adding that's not just because Canada has seen less of a downturn than the United States. Recently, Canada has slowed while the U.S. markets have perked up.
The consensus in recent weeks has been that the stability in North America is here to stay, Redfern said: "This feels like there is a broader base of stability than we could have put our hands on a few weeks ago."
Since the end of 2008, Taylor Wimpey has successfully shed itself of net debt from 1.68 billion pounds to 1.01 billion pounds through tedious renegotiations with its bondholders. It has also successfully raised 510 million pounds through issuing new equity.
"We plan to have debt below the 900-(pound) level by the end of the year," said Redfern. Those gains are expected to come through greater building efficiencies and other across-the-board measures to keep costs down.
"We are cautious going forward," said Redfern. "But each coming week makes us more confident."
Taylor Morrison was created in July 2007 from the merger of George Wimpey and Taylor Woodrow. The pairing created the largest builder in Great Britain and merged George Wimpey's Morrison Homes in the United States with Taylor Woodrow to create Taylor Morrison. In Canada, the company operates under the Monarch brand.