Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has announced a drop in pre-tax profits from £776.5 million in 2006 down to £535.6 million last year.

Taylor Wimpey was formed last year following a merger between Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey.

The company said that it's UK operating margins were up from 12.8 per cent to 15.2 per cent, and were ahead of target. The group's total revenue fell from £6,719.5 million in 2006 down to £5,887.5 million last year.

The company said its full year dividend per share increased by 6.8 per cent to 15.75 pence per share.

Norman Askew, chairman of the group, said, The 2007 merger of Taylor Woodrow Plc and George Wimpey Plc has already realised significant benefits. It has changed the face of, and the opportunities for, the business. The benefits of the merger are as valid today as they were in July. This is especially true in the difficult market conditions that we currently face.

Peter Redfern, the chief executive, said, We continue to anticipate a more difficult trading environment in the UK during 2008. However, we have actively positioned the business for more challenging conditions and are well placed for the future with a strengthened land bank, excellent momentum and a robust financial position.