The Wates Group has reported increased turnover, profits and cash reserves for the year in its annual accounts ending 31 December 2019.
Group turnover rose to £1.63 billion – up 2.1 per cent over 2018 (£1.601 billion) and profit before taxation was £36.2 million (up 0.8 per cent on last year). The group maintained strong cash balances during 2019, ending the year with £142.2 million – a rise of 25 per cent over 2018. It extended its bank facilities to £120 million.
Wates Property Services, the housing maintenance and facilities management division created last year, saw a turnover of £476.9 million. The business secured key contract wins with new and existing clients including HMRC, Marks and Spencer, the BBC, the Ministry of Justice, West Midlands Police, Wolverhampton Council and the London Borough of Camden.
Property services carried out maintenance on more than 500,000 social homes across 60 housing associations and local authority customers. It employs 1,750 experts in housing and corporate building maintenance and includes Wates Living Space, which carries out responsive repairs, building compliance and refurbishment services forming a national business focused on housing maintenance and FM throughout the UK.
The Wates Group’s net assets were up 2 per cent to £152.4 million (2018: £135.8m), and it reported a “record order book” of £5.9 billion – 9.2 per cent higher than 2018 (£5.4 billion) and EBITDA of £48.8 million, up by 6 per cent (2018: £48 million).
Wates said 2019 was “a positive year for the Wates Group in a challenging market”. Its construction arm saw a turnover of £922.7 million, up 8.7 per cent on the previous 12 months. Wates Construction started work on Parliament’s Northern Estate Programme, won the contract to build the Sandwell Aquatic Centre near Birmingham and became the only major contractor to achieve strategic supplier status with the Department for Education. The division also maintained its position as the leading builder of schools in the UK, with £600 million of projects in development.
On the sustainability front, 97.4 per cent of waste was diverted from landfill, 5,000 trees were planted and 65 per cent of the energy used across the group came from renewable sources. The group also contributed £1.5 million to Wates Giving, the charitable arm of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust.
David Allen, CEO of Wates Group, said: “The Wates Group’s financial performance in 2019 was excellent. We ended the year in a position of substantial financial strength, with significant cash reserves and the support of our banks.
“Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives. Individuals, communities and businesses are all having to adapt to meet challenges that seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago.
“Wates has overcome many difficulties during our 123-year history and we will come through the difficulties created by Covid-19. We are doing everything we can to support our people, our customers and our suppliers, and to make sure we are as ready as we can be to push on to greater, more sustainable success once this crisis is over.”