Property Week - November 14, 2008
Taylor Wimpey is to carry out a sale and leaseback of around 350 of its show homes in a bid to reduce debt and improve cashflow. The listed housebuilder plans to sell the UK-wide show home portfolio for between £70m and £100m and pay rental income to the buyer for up to three years. It is thought to have instructed King Sturge and last Wednesday sent details to selected institutional-type investors.
Taylor Wimpey needs working capital and access to the show homes, which have an average value of around £200,000, to market its developments. The buyer would gain a sizeable portfolio and a guaranteed three-year income stream without voids, and eventual ownership of 350 homes at a time when the housing market could be in recovery. It could provide investors with an initial yield of between 6% and 7%.
Packaging the homes up as a portfolio is thought to be an innovative way for Taylor Wimpey, led by chief executive Peter Redfearn, to reduce its £1.9bn debt burden. In an interim management statement on Tuesday, Taylor Wimpey said it was unlikely to agree a new debt package by January, when its covenants may be tested. Redfearn said Taylor Wimpey was ready to sell parts of its UK land banks or non-core parts of the business if necessary. The sale-and-leaseback plan would be one such option.
Taylor Wimpey is valued at around £142m, down from a high of £4.3bn last year. It has significantly reduced costs with 1,900 job cuts, land sales and a construction slowdown. Neil Batty, Knight Frank’s new homes investment head, said all housebuilders were looking at ways to extract value.
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