Construction News

Wed June 29 2022

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Wates posts its best results to date

22 Mar Family-owned Wates Group finished 2021 with record profits and more work in hand than ever before.

Chief executive David Allen
Chief executive David Allen

Wates made a record operating profit of £40m in 2021 (2020: £4.6m) on turnover up 12% to £1.63bn (2020: £1.45bn)

Pre-tax profit was up 5% to £37.4m (2020: £35.7m and 2019: £36.2m).

The business secured £2.3bn of new work during 2021 and ended the year with a record forward order book of £7.1bn, up 7% from its previous record in 2020, and with £228.7m in cash (up 6% from 2020).

Not only is the Wates family raking it in, it is also paying twice as much tax. Wates Group increased its total tax contribution to the exchequer from £107m in 2020 to £233m in 2021. 

All the group’s divisions performed strongly.  Wates Construction generated pre-tax profits of £18.7m from a turnover of £772m (up 51%). The work came predominantly from building schools, offices, leisure facilities and housing, with a growing presence in healthcare construction. The construction forward order book was £3.9bn at year-end, up from £3.4bn at the start.

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Wates Residential increased its turnover by 75% to £268m.  Wates Developments saw its turnover jump 65% to £107m, generating £5.6m in pre-tax profits. This performance reflected the group’s increasing investment in development activities, the company said.

Wates Property Services increased turnover by 14% across its three divisions to £475.9m, with its facilities management business, Wates FM, experiencing the best trading year in its history. Specialist fit-out and refurbishment contractor, Wates Smartspace, won more than £150m in new work.  More than 50% of Smartspace’s work is now for public sector customers, with projects for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Work & Pensions.

Chief executive David Allen said: “I feel enormous gratitude for and pride in what the team here at Wates achieved in 2021. It is incredible that in a year that was frequently – and for extended periods – very challenging, we continued to work safely and produced the highest operating profit in Wates’ 125-year history.

“What we’ve accomplished shows that our strategy – of focusing on the performance priorities that will help us achieve our goals of being more trusted, sustainable and progressive - is working. This strategy is supported by significant new investments in our residential and developments businesses, and by the investments we’re making in data and modern methods of construction to enable us to offer market-leading services to all our customers and partners.

“Despite the economic and political pressures that are affecting everyone right now, the strength of our performance in 2021; the size of our order book; our proven ability to help customers and partners meet their sustainability goals; the clarity of our strategy; and the quality of our amazing team mean we’re looking forward to the future with confidence and excitement.”

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