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Profits at Taywood build up

PROFITS at Taylor Woodrow's construction arm jumped 15 per cent to £22.3 million for the year to December 2004 as the house builder confirmed that the division remains core to its operations.

Turnover in the construction sector also increased to £410 million from £368, with £135 million-worth of work carried out internally for Taywood's housing projects.

Chief executive Iain Napier said: 'Construction remains a core competence for the group to support the housing operation in future regeneration projects and the resultant growth in social housing.'

But Taywood bosses are planning to reduce the level of internal work in the coming years as it winds down jobs on city centre residential towers.

Profits at the construction division were originally £34.6 million but were scaled down after an extra contribution to the company pension fund.

Pre-tax profits at the group overall shot up 27 per cent to £427 million on worldwide turnover of £3.35 billion, up from £2.67 billion.

Margins at the UK housing operation dipped slightly to 15.6 per cent from 16.6 per cent but Mr Napier is bullish about the market's prospects.

He said: 'In recent weeks sales rates have been ahead of the last six months of 2004 and total net reservations are slightly ahead.'