Laing O'Rourke quits housebuilding

Published:  20 October, 2011

DARTFORD: Laing O'Rourke is running down its housing arm Explore Living for at least two years until the housing market improves.

The business will finish existing projects and then mothball its land bank of 1000 plots until there is a sustained recovery in the housebuilding market.

Most of the existing staff will continue to work with Explore with only a handful of redundancies expected initially.

But, chairman Paul Healey and managing director Karl Pickering are to leave Explore.

A spokesman for Laing O'Rourke said: "All future phases on these sites, plus development sites owned by Explore Living where construction work has not started, will be paused.

"Work will not recommence until consumer confidence returns to the UK housing market, and greater certainty exists regarding the sales prospects for these developments.

"We expect this period of inactivity to extend for a minimum of two years as the government's austerity measures and the scarcity of mortgage lending continue to suppress housing demand."

Since Explore Living plc was set-up in 2005 it has failed to return a pre-tax profit. In 2010, pre-tax losses reached £8.2m on a turnover of £33m, and in 2011 were still in the red at £4.4m on turnover down to £19m.

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