LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - British housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said first half profit rose 50 p
ercent, helped by strong demand for its properties, and said it expected full-year 2012 returns to be in line with its expectations.
The company and its rivals Barratt Developments and Persimmon are benefiting from a lack of available new homes in Britain and government schemes to spur the market, which have shored up demand despite a tough economic outlook and flagging consumer sentiment.
Taylor Wimpey, Britain's second largest builder by market value, said operating profit in the six months through June was 100.9 million pounds ($158.1 million) versus 67.2 million pounds in the same period last year. First-half pretax profit was 78.2 million pounds versus 28.9 million pounds in the same period in 2011.
'We continue to benefit from our high quality land portfolio, increased order book and strong balance sheet,' Chief Executive Pete Redfern said in the statement on Wednesday.
'Assuming that current stable markets persist, we expect to continue to achieve improved performance period on period and to deliver full year returns in 2012 that are in line with our expectations,' he said.
Taylor Wimpey completed 5,083 homes in the first half, up from 4,707 in the same period last year, with the overall average selling prices of the completions rising to 176,000 pounds from 168,000 pounds.
Its order book grew 18 percent to 688 million pounds. It also declared an interim dividend of 0.19 pence per share, versus none in the same period last year. The company had recommenced dividends in February with a 0.38 pence per share final dividend, its first payout since 2007.
Taylor Wimpey said UK market conditions remained stable, with pricing unchanged over the first half of 2012 but that the Spanish market was challenging, though they were seeing interest from overseas buyers from Germany and British.
Shares in the company closed at 44.15 pence on Tuesday, valuing the company at 1.43 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.6382 British pounds)
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Keiron Henderson) Keywords: TAYLORWIMPEYRESULTS/
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