Wates order book soars 14% to record £6.6bn

Aaron Morby 3 years ago

Private builder Wates is sitting on a record order book of £6.6bn after its construction and housing business secured a flurry of major new projects during the most challenging year in its 124-year history.

David Allen, Wates chief executive, says the business is primed to bounce back this year
David Allen, Wates chief executive, says the business is primed to bounce back this year

During 2020, Wates managed to just remain in the black with pre-tax profit including contributions from joint ventures at £1.7m on revenue down by around 11% to £1.4bn.

Strong cash management has left room to invest £100m over coming years, which will mainly be deployed to grow Wates Residential and strengthen the group’s new integrated service division.

Wates Residential increased its turnover by 21% and accounted for just over half of all work won across the group, including its appointment as development partner for Harrow Council’s £600m, 1,500-home regeneration scheme.

Covid cost Wates £11.4m as it met the challenges of lockdown and new ways of site working, also dragging revenue to its lowest level in five years.

Part of the exceptional cost came from a group-wide restructuring leading to 268 redundancies, lowering headcount to around 3,560 staff.

During the year, Wates took £7.7m in Government job retention payments, which the firm said it would not be repaying after making a total tax contribution of £107m to the Exchequer as a UK registered company.

As a result of the challenges last year Wates also suspended bonuses and dividends.

David Allen, chief executive, said: “That we finished 2020 with a positive result is a credit to the remarkable efforts, resilience and adaptability of everyone at Wates.

“The pandemic challenged us to work in different ways and to adapt.  We reorganised our business to focus on helping to tackle the UK’s housing shortage, supporting the public sector to build back better and investing in the modern methods of construction that will enable us to meet our customer’s needs in the future.”

Allen said private sector clients were now returning to the market with office projects and Wates was hopeful of boosting its portfolio of science and technology projects with further new orders shortly.

Bid teams secured £2.4bn of new work last year boosting the group order book by nearly 14%.

Allen said: “Together, we have set the business up to succeed and we remain committed to our goal of becoming the most sustainable, trusted and progressive business in the sector.”

Wates ended the year with £162m of net cash, which was £50.8m up on 2019. Average daily cash stood at £88m giving the business an investment war chest to grow the business over the coming years.

Latest news

Geoffrey Osborne files administration notice

Contractor in talks to save parts of the business
1 day ago

RG Group signs £121m Newcastle rental homes job

Developer Olympian Homes advances 519 flats plan at Pottery Lane site
1 day ago

Winners named for £260m Manchester Uni framework

B&K, Henry Bros, Graham, Robertson and Vinci among new line-up
1 day ago

Shed specialist Benniman rides out market lull

Worcestershire warehouse builder says industrial and logistics work is picking up again
1 day ago

Another contractor cleared after high profile immigration raid

Adana Construction employees were working legally on site swooped on by Home Office
1 day ago

McAleer & Rushe wants to meet new London suppliers

Contractor holding Meet the Buyer event in London: Register now
1 day ago

McAlpine signs £500m Broadgate dual towers deal

Work to start on iconic 36-storey and 21-storey towers
2 days ago

Worker rescued from collapsed four metre deep trench

Fire crews take six hours to save trapped builder near Blackwall Tunnel
2 days ago

Gove puts another major building scheme on hold

Secretary of State starts another planning fight after M&S defeat
3 days ago

Greenwich University tenders £300m framework

Up to five firms will carry out upgrade and newbuild work at three campuses
2 days ago

Work starts on Manchester 26-storey Obsidian tower

Contractor Domis starts Salboy's 10th Manchester scheme in seven years
2 days ago

Race for £1.3bn West Midlands social homes framework

The Community Housing Group reboots tender race for new build housing
2 days ago

Delancey submits £400m King’s Cross lab plans

200,000 sq ft lab/office project will be built above railway and tube tunnels just 4.5m below
3 days ago

Winners revealed for £150m fire safety framework

New deal will help organisations comply with the Building Safety Act
2 days ago

Sellar plans £500m City tower next to Walkie-Talkie

Consultation starts on London 60 Gracechurch Street tower
3 days ago

Severfield ends year on high with record order book

Orders top £500m with strong future pipeline of opportunities ahead
3 days ago

Second senior director exits National Highways

Commercial director Malcolm Dare set to move on to new role
3 days ago

New scheme fuels London lab building boom

Plans in for 160,000 sq ft Whitechapel scheme near Royal London hospital
3 days ago

Contract race starts for next £155m section of A9 dualling

Prior Information Notice published for Tay Crossing to Ballinluig stretch
4 days ago

£55m Sheffield build-to-rent scheme approved

Demolition to start later this year for 158-flat Sheffield Garden project
4 days ago

London back as most expensive place to build in world

Capital leapfrogs Geneva to top costliest construction rankings
4 days ago

Gas supplier Regent to buy TClarke for £90m

£491m turnover listed building services specialist to be sold
4 days ago

Steel contractor Billington launches into bridge market

Steelwork firm hires staff from failed architectural and bridge specialist SH Structures
4 days ago

McGee employees benefit from rise in profits

Pre-tax profit doubles boosting payouts for Employee Ownership Trust
4 days ago

Lendlease veteran is latest new McAlpine director

Paul Sims joins as Operations Director after 40 years at rival contractor
5 days ago

Costain signs site labour supply deal with four firms

Contractor to use only a quartet of providers for temporary labour supply
4 days ago

BAM go-ahead for Leeds 200,000 sq ft office

Latitude Yellow will complete final plot at Doncaster Monk Bridge site
5 days ago

VolkerFitzpatrick wins £30m logistics job

Latest deal to build five distribution units for Prologis UK
5 days ago

Trio win new Scape utilities consultancy framework

Perfect Circle, AtkinsRéalis and Arcadis win places on
4 days ago

Precast firm FP McCann cleared after immigration raid

Home Office takes no action after public raid on construction site
5 days ago

Contractor services