Wates delivers improved profits and record order book
The Wates Group has reported increased profits for the year ending 31 December 2018, with a record order book of £5.4 billion heading into 2019.
Turnover for the construction, development and property services company in 2018 was within 1% of the previous year at £1.60bn and the group’s operating margin increased to 2.4%.
Wates said it made significant new investments in its residential developments businesses (£55.6 million) and its commercial property portfolio (£10.0m) and increased the contributions it made to its defined benefit pension scheme.
The group maintained a strong cash position throughout the year, finishing 2018 with £114.2m and received a significant endorsement from its existing banks and from a new bank who, together, have committed to a bigger and extended £120m facility.
There was a 9% reduction in construction turnover, a residual effect of the deceleration in the market in the quarters before and after the EU Referendum. However, performance across the group’s other key sectors of residential development (which grew by 11%) and property services (up 8%) improved on the back of key contract wins in regeneration and social housing.
Chief executive David Allen said: “These are really encouraging results. We’ve delivered another year of increased profits by continuing to concentrate on working in the sectors and geographies where we have proven expertise and for customers with whom we enjoy positive, effective relationships.
“Over the past year we’ve been reflecting on what really matters to us and how we want our business to be in the future. We believe we have a responsibility to work together – with our customers, suppliers and everyone involved in or affected by what we do – to inspire better ways of creating the places, communities and businesses of tomorrow.
“We’ve entered 2019 in great shape, with a record order book and significant backing from our banks to support the investments we want to make in our future. So, we’re excited about what lies ahead for the Wates Group, whatever external pressures the next few months might bring.”