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TayWimp hit by £300m overseas write-downs

House builder Taylor Wimpey revealed a jump in underlying UK profits today, but racked up an overall loss thanks to hefty write downs in its overseas markets.

The group, which sells homes under the brands George Wimpey, Bryant Homes, G2, Wilson Connolly and Laing Homes, saw pre-tax profits in the UK rise 14 per cent to £608.5 million for 2007.

This came as the firm delivered improved margins to offset a 6 per cent fall in the number of completions in the UK last year to 20,690. Average selling prices nudged up to £188,000 from £186,000.

Poor conditions in the US - which accounts for nearly a fifth of total sales - and Spain saw the group take a near £300 million write off on land and property in the countries.

Taylor made an overall pre-tax loss of £19.5 million for 2007,compared to profits of £409.5 million the year before.

Chief executive Pete Redfern said he continued to anticipate a "more difficult" trading environment in the UK this year, with no "significant" improvement expected in the US either.