Wates’ 2022 financial results show highest-ever turnover

Eoghan O’Lionaird, chief executive of Wates Group.

Wates’ 2022 financial results have revealed its highest turnover.

Its record forward order book is expected to propel the group to further growth.

The results showed that the firm’s profit before tax was £33.7m on its highest turnover of £1.89bn – up 17% on last year.

Wates had £2.8bn of new work during 2022, finishing the year with a record £8.35bn forward order book. Its forward order book has increased in every one of its main divisions.

The results also revealed £153m of net cash and an undrawn revolving credit facility of £90m.

Despite strong inflationary pressure, interest rate rises and other economic headwinds, Wates has rounded up its 125th anniversary year primed for growth.

Eoghan O’Lionaird, chief executive of Wates Group, said: “These results in our 125th year represent a really strong performance in the context of a challenging economic environment.

“Each of our divisions have contributed strongly to profitability and I am delighted to see such consistency across the group.

“2022 saw us continue our upward trajectory on turnover, reaching £1.89bn, the highest in our history. This high figure reflects the strong and stable family governance, hard work of people across the business, the scale of our ambition, our proven capability to manage large scale projects of strategic national significance, and our customers’ confidence in our ability to deliver for them, particularly in the public sector.

“We are in a strong, resilient position, with profitability across all our divisions, another record forward order book, and a solid cash balance. These results are a testament to the efforts of everyone at Wates, and my particular thanks go to Philip Cartwright for his sterling performance as interim chief executive. He has left a firm foundation from which I hope to continue growing this remarkable business.”

It was the second full year of the company’s five-year social value strategy. They generated £183m in social value whilst also spending £7.2m with social enterprises.

Wates’ construction business won £1.32bn of new work, and turned over £958m, up 24% from last year, with a highest-ever average project size of £43m. This included projects completed during 2022 such as the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, which hosted the swimming events at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. They also completed over £100m of work on their largest construction project, the c£500m Envision AESC Gigafactory in Sunderland, which will make batteries to meet the growth in demand for electric vehicles.

Turnover in the firm’s residential business increased by £42m, taking it to £310m during 2022, a rise of 16%. They also won several industry awards for their work with Cardiff Council, providing low-carbon, energy-efficient homes, including many built offsite.

The developments group turned over £123m, up by 15%, and held £148m in invested assets.

The property services division increased turnover across its three businesses to £499m, with a forward order book of £1.9bn. The company launched the Wates Retrofit offer, providing zero-carbon retrofit services to domestic and commercial properties, and 2022 was the best year yet for the specialist fit out and refurbishment business, which retained all its key customers and won more. One of these is the Ministry of Justice’s Construction Services Framework, that includes projects worth between £5m and £30m. The facilities management business also saw its best year, winning new contracts and expanding work with existing customers.

Find the full 2022 results at 2022-Wates-Annual-Review.pdf

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