Solihull-based construction group Taylor Woodrow yesterday declined to comment on talk that it may merge with rival builder George Wimpey.

A spokeswoman said it was aware of whispers about a potential £4 billion deal, which one City analyst said could be beneficial for both companies.

The spokeswoman said Taylor "never says never", but added: "Our policy is that we don't comment on it because it's pure speculation."

In a note, head of equity analysis at Barclays Stockbrokers, Andrew Fisher, cited rumours that the pair "may announce a nil-premium merger early next year".

Taylor Woodrow, which sponsors Moseley rugby club, sells homes under the Bryant brand. In the year ending December 31, 2004, turnover increased by 26 per cent to £3.3 billion.

The company employs 600 people at its head office in Solihull which also oversees its Midland division which has sites in Olton, Lichfield, Stratford, Warwick and Worcester. Taylor completed 3,194 UK homes in the six months to June 30.

George Wimpey revealed profits fell 18 per cent to £130.7 million in its first half to July 3.

The group has offices in Cannock, Wolverhampton and Solihull and employs around 550 people across the Midlands. ..SUPL: