Healthy Wates Group taking on more staff to pursue growth

CONSTRUCTION firm Wates Group yesterday announced plans to employ an additional 300 staff this year after reporting strong results for 2010.

The company, which employs 110 people in Leeds, said its turnover rose four per cent to £985m and pre-tax profits were up 12 per cent to £43.5m despite challenging market conditions in the UK.

It had a year-end cash balance of £169.2m with no reliance on external funding and a strong balance sheet with net assets of £60.7m The firm said it has a forward order book of £2bn and a total pipeline of business opportunities of £4.1bn

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Current projects include creating new £20m offices for Doncaster Council as part of the first phase of a £300m Civil and Cultural Quarter (CCQ) redevelopment of the Waterdale area of Doncaster town centre. The five-storey building, which is due to be completed in September 2012, will include the new Council Chambers.

Paul Drechsler, chairman and chief executive of Wates, said: “2010 was a challenging year with the UK economy still in recovery. However, through close collaboration between our clients, our supply chain partners and our people, we have been able to create value by delivering high-quality projects, winning a strong forward order book and engineering cost efficiencies. We have achieved a strong set of results while maintaining our market share and competitive margins.

“I am particularly pleased to report a year-end balance sheet that is one of the strongest in the industry, a forward order book of £2bn and a total pipeline of new business opportunities worth £4.1bn. To help deliver our ambitious growth strategy, we expect to hire around 300 new people in 2011.”

He added: “Economic factors, including a decrease in public sector funding, coupled with our commitment to deliver even more responsible value for customers mean we must continue to innovate across our entire business model. In this respect, our established key strategic programmes – safety excellence, operational excellence, supply chain management, marketing, people and CSR (corporate social responsibility) – have provided a robust framework for delivering progress. Our focus is on accelerating these improvements and we enter 2011 with confidence that we will build upon our results.”