Wates: orders up, profit dips

Published:  29 March, 2010

LEATHERHEAD: Wates Construction, a family-owned construction business, reported annual profits down 17% in the 12 months to the end of 2009.

The national contractor recorded turnover of £945m, down 7% from £1.02bn in 2008, and profit before tax of £38.9m. Wates also reported a record forward order book of £2.3bn.

Paul Drechsler, the group's chief executive and chairman, said Wates's strong order book – which increased by 15% during 2009 to £2.3bn – would help protect it against the cuts in public spending widely expected to follow the general election.

Mr Drechsler said he believed "continued capital investment by government is the most effective way to promote the much-needed economic recovery in the UK".

John Shannon, business unit director for Wates Construction in the North West, said: "We are facing further economic uncertainty in 2010 and the challenge is to get closer to our customers to understand their challenges and deliver for them. We have made a strong start with projects secured in both the public and private sectors, alongside our appointment to the highly prized North West Construction Hub."

During 2009, Wates completed the £31m North Liverpool Academy and Liverpool John Moores University's £24.1m arts and design academy. The firm also handed over the £18.1m first phase workshops for Stockport College and started a £7m refurbishment of Manchester College's Fielden Campus.

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