A massive pensions liability at beleaguered house builder Taylor Wimpey is scaring off potential buyers.

Any takeover would require an injection of up to £1.2bn. The extent of the possible payout, outlined in the firm's accounts, combined with its £1.7bn debt, has prevented any bid for the company, which is valued at just £477m.

It had been rumoured that a private equity firm and sovereign wealth funds were weighing up an offer for the UK's biggest builder. Taylor has seen an 80% fall in its value in less than a year, as concern mounts over whether its huge debt burden can be sustained in a depressed housing market.

The Observer