Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has highlighted its return to financial health by paying a dividend to shareholders for the first time since 2007.

The group, which was formed from the merger of George Wimpey and Solihull-based Taylor Woodrow in 2007, teetered on the brink of collapse in 2009 due to its massive debts, but capitalised on better-than-expected trading conditions in 2011 for profits of £89.9 million, against losses of £27.9 million a year earlier.

Taylor completed the final stage of its financial overhaul in July when it sold its North American division, leaving it to focus on a UK business that sold 10,180 homes at an average price of £171,000 last year.

The second half of the year saw an encouraging trading pattern and with demand in the early weeks of 2012 also showing promise Taylor said it was now appropriate to commence dividends with a 2011 pay-out of 0.38p.

Shares languished at just 3p in 2009 before hitting 53p earlier this year but were down five per cent in early trading despite the dividend announcement.

Chief executive Pete Redfern said the the ongoing under-supply of new housing and the robust confidence of homebuyers should benefit the group, with its order book currently 18 per cent higher than a year ago at £983 million.

He added: “We feel well positioned to deliver further improvement through our value-driven strategy.”