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Sun April 18 2021

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Willmott Dixon doubles profits and focuses on core business

11 Jul 17 Willmott Dixon’s latest set of annual results reveal a solid performance and a renewed focus on its core construction contracting business.

Chief executive Rick Willmott
Chief executive Rick Willmott

In 2016 privately owned Willmott Dixon saw its turnover dip nearly 1% to £1.22bn (2015: £1.33bn) but profits before tax & amortisation rise 97% to reach £31.1m (2015: £15.8m).

The result was consistent with the owners’ stated ambition to prioritise quality over quantity.

Shareholders’ funds in the business stand at £177.3m (2015: £174.1m) and it has cash in hand of £81.2m (2015: £80.2m).

During the year Willmott Dixon launched Fortem (housing repairs and maintenance) and Be Living (housing development) as new brands and de-merged.

In a further reorganisation it has now decided to integrate its residential contracting operations within the general construction operation under chief operating officer John Waterman.

Group chief executive Rick Willmott explained: “This has been a good, solid performance in 2016.  A year when our contracting businesses have delivered strong, predictable results and where our residential development and support services companies have been positioned with greater independence for the future.

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“This year will see concentration on our core contracting activity, making sure that we continue to shape Willmott Dixon to stay close to our customers, both private and public, and by serving their evolving needs.  This particularly relates to our residential construction proposition, where the nature of projects is changing, with private housing developers, local authorities and housing associations creating ever more high density, mixed-tenure and mixed-use developments.

“These opportunities are often ‘bundled’ as a series of projects that allow customers to work in partnership with companies like us to accelerate delivery.

“The residential contracting market has evolved materially and we’re seeing a growing number of customers wanting to migrate relationships with current operational teams, who have delivered commercial or education projects for example, on to residential build contracts instead of being introduced to a new team from a different part of the business.

“To ensure we are best positioned to deal with this strong and vibrant market opportunity, we need to change the way we operate by integrating our residential expertise and capability into our national Construction business from July.  This will see our residential projects and teams progressively migrate to their local Construction office to better enable us to provide a seamless service with scope to expand across the whole country.

“This also fits neatly with our portfolio of national and local frameworks, including Scape where we are a partner on the new National Construction Framework with the potential for work volumes of £2.25bn over the next four years, and the Southern Construction Framework, where we have the accolade of being its contractor of the year.  Having consistency of operational structure, leadership and direction will absolutely reinforce our ability to deliver best in class performance for all our customers.”

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