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Willmott Dixon shakes up resi arm as profit doubles to £31m

Willmott Dixon has increased integration between its construction and residential arms after doubling its annual profits. 

The contractor posted profit, before tax and amortisation, of £31.1m for the year to 31 December 2016, up 97 per cent from the £15.8m reported in its previous year.

Revenue dipped slightly to £1.22bn, from £1.33bn over the same period, which the firm said reflected a prioritsiation of “quality over quantity”.

Chief executive Rick Willmott (pictured) said the company was now taking a new approach to its residential and construction businesses, with its resi arm becoming more closely integrated with its core construction operations.

He cited client demand for integrated housing and construction delivery, with a number of clients offering opportunities in both fields on major projects.

Resi contracts the firm has already delivered via its construction arm include a £46m build-to-rent development at Finzels Reach in Bristol, and the construction of new homes for St Albans City Council.

“To ensure we are best positioned to deal with this strong and vibrant market opportunity, we need to change the way we operate by integrating our residential expertise and capability into our national construction business from July,” he said.

“This will see our residential projects and teams progressively migrate to their local construction office to better enable us to provide a seamless service with scope to expand across the whole country.”

The integration of the residential and construction teams will be led by chief operating officer John Waterman.

Willmott Dixon revealed an overall order book of £1bn as of May 2017, with 90 per cent of budgeted work secured for the year.

Its cash position remained stable at £81.2m in December 2016, up from £80.2m a year earlier.

Major contract wins for the firm’s construction arm so far this year include a place on Scape’s £7bn construction framework.

Willmott landed spots on two lucrative lots: major works in England & Northern Ireland, worth between £1.5bn and £1.75bn; and major works Wales, worth between £300m and £500m.

It had been the sole contractor on Scape’s previous national construction framework.

The firm is also understood to have been shortlisted for a place on the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s flagship £8bn National Construction Framework, as reported by Construction News last week.

In the North of England, the contractor beat rivals Kier and Bam to a £46m deal to build a flagship school and leisure project in Ponteland, and is also in line to take over from Lendlease at Liverpool John Moores University’s Copperas Hill redevelopment.

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