Development and property services provider the Wates Group ended 2020 with £2.4 billion of new work and “a record forward order book of £6.6 billion”.
The group’s end-of-year financial statement announces that this was a rise of 13.5 per cent over 2019. In what it describes as “one of the most challenging years in its 124-year history”, the group delivered EBITDA of £14.7million and pre-tax profits of £1.7 million (after exceptional costs of £11.4 million) from a turnover of £1.45 billion – ending the year with £215.9 million of cash (and £161.6 million of net cash – £50.8 million higher than in 2019).
The group‘s divisions were named on four key lots of Camden Council’s four-year £620 million Property Works Framework in December, and Wates Living Space was just last week reappointed by Thurrock Council to its maintenance contract on the council’s Transforming Homes Programme for another five years.
The business adapted quickly and effectively to the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, with site productivity in the final quarter of the year approaching pre-pandemic levels, creating real optimism for 2021 and beyond, says the group.
In November, the board approved plans to invest significantly in measures to improve the environmental sustainability of its operations.
David Allen, group CEO, said: “We began 2020 with enormous optimism, having just achieved the highest level of profits the group had generated for almost a decade and a record order book. Within three months, the pandemic left us facing a battle for survival. That we finished the year with a positive result is a credit to the remarkable efforts, resilience and adaptability of everyone at Wates.”