Profits rise as Willmott Dixon focuses on contracting

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Willmott Dixon has published its accounts for the 12 months to 31 December 2018, revealing a turnover of £1.3bn compared to £1.2bn the previous year

Financial highlights in 2018 for Willmott Dixon, also included; £37.5m worth of profit before tax, a 55% jump from the previous year. The company revealed that it had no debt and cash at the bank of up to £90.5m.

Willmott Dixon also unveiled that during 2018 the company offered the best payment terms and payment on time statistics of any major contractor.

Other financial highlights for Willmott Dixon in 2018 include:

  • Profit before tax margin up to 2.8% (2017: 1.9%)
  • Access to Bank facilities unused but committed to 2021
  • Net assets up to £170.2m (2017: £142.2m)
  • Repeat business – 67% of orders in 2018
  • Frameworks – 73% of turnover procured via frameworks
  • Reduced construction waste intensity by 57% since 2012
  • Construction activity turnover – £1,198bn (2017: £1,141bn)
  • Interiors activity turnover – £125m (2017: £128m).

Highlights so far in the current financial year include:

  • 85% of budgeted work secured for 2019 (at April 2019)
  • 4th in Sunday Times Top 100 best companies to work for awards, best-placed contractor
  • Expanding into Essex and Sussex with new offices in Chelmsford and Crawley
  • Third Queen’s Award for Enterprise – this time for sustainable development
  • Carbon Neutral for the 6th year in succession
  • 100% natural renewable electricity supplying sites and offices.

Chief executive of Willmott Dixon, Rick Willmott, said: “Our approach of the last two years to focus entirely on construction and fit-out is showing strong results with good earnings growth, increased margin, a solid cash position and a robust, sustainable forward order book.”

“This at a time when the pipeline of work available to the country’s fifty largest contractors has continued to diminish post the 2016 Brexit referendum; caused by postponement or cancellation of project opportunities.  Being in a position of strength to weather the consequences of a further material depletion in accessible workload will remain a key priority for Willmott Dixon.

“That is why our role on public sector procurement frameworks will be a key driver for our business; at present this gives us access to £25bn of potential workload volume. With that comes the responsibility of ensuring our work helps to sustain a healthy supply chain and I’m delighted that we are recognised as the best payer of supply chain partners across the top twenty contractors in the Government’s first two statutory reporting periods, with an average payment time of 32 days, something we hope to better by this time next year.”

“We also have an eye on the future of our industry in terms of finding the next generation of people to choose construction as a long-term career, especially given the CITB’s recent annual Construction Skills Network report which predicted approximately 168,500 construction jobs will be created in the UK over the next five years. Putting construction in the ‘shop window’ of rewarding careers is a priority and that’s why we were pleased to come fourth in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for list, helping to give our industry a prominent place among other sectors.

“Another way we’ll help meet the skills challenge is by reaching out to a broader pool of talent, and that includes our aspiration to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by grade by 2030.  To deliver on this, we are embracing more agile working for our teams that takes advantage of the ever greater array technology we now have for mobile working.”

He added: “Looking at 2019 and beyond, I remain proud that a key strength of the Group is our purpose beyond profit ethos; demonstrated through the actions of our people to create a positive legacy where we work, where we can improve the life chances of many people in the communities where we operate.

“More and more people want to work for a company that has a defined purpose to improve the general wellbeing of society and our people have shown how important this is for them with four out of five helping to deliver a community-related project outside their ‘day job’ in 2018, an investment of over £2m a year in our people’s time to improve the lives of others.”

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