Thursday 21 March 2019 8:27 am

Wates Group profits on the rise as construction firm battles Brexit fallout

Construction firm Wates Group’s profits rose slightly last year as it battled against a downturn in work caused by Brexit.

The UK’s largest family owned construction firm said it had continued improving profit by sticking to its core sectors and regions, as it went into 2019 with a record order book.

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The figures

Profit before tax rose one per cent to £35.9m, while turnover was down one per cent at £1.6bn.

The firm recorded a record order book of £5.4bn going into 2019, with a £114.2m cash balance.

Net assets were up 13.7 per cent to £135.8m.

Turnover in its construction division fell nine per cent to £849m, while other sectors such as residential development grew 11 per cent and property services rose eight per cent on the back of key contract wins in regeneration and social housing.

Why it’s interesting

Construction turnover saw a sharp fall as the company continued to battle the residual effects of the 2016 Brexit vote.

But the firm’s housebuilding division was stronger, with more than 7,000 new homes under construction in 2018 including senior living, student accommodation and high-density, city centre housing. This came after pouring £55.6m into its residential developments business.

What Wates Group said

Chief executive David Alen 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.

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“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.”