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Willmott Dixon ups profit despite 'annus horribilis' in housing

Willmott Dixon grew its pre-tax profit for 2014 by more than 60 per cent, despite highlighting problem projects in its residential division.

Pre-tax profit rose from £16.2m in 2013 to £26.2m in 2014.

Turnover increased by 24 per cent from £1.02bn to £1.26bn, while the group’s secured forward order book stood at £1.4bn as of March 2015.

The positive set of financial results came despite chief executive Rick Willmott describing the group’s housing arm as having experienced an “annus horribilis” as it “struggled to close out… ‘legacy’ projects”.

He added: “Our clutch of legacy schemes has caused disproportionate problems for our people and unacceptable difficulties for a number of our clients and their end occupiers.”

Despite this, the housing arm of the business increased its turnover from £197m to £279m.

It was one of several divisions to show top-line growth in 2014, with the construction arm also posting a significant turnover rise from £636m to £753m.

Among the highlights for the year was Willmott Dixon’s appointment to develop Brentford Football Club’s new stadium in west London, alongside a 1,000-home residential project.

The group said its ‘early pay’ model for subcontractors and suppliers had already proved popular, with 120 companies taking it up and £100m of spend going through the system.

Group chairman Colin Enticknap said: “All things considered, we are pleased with the overall outcome for last year, and we aim to build upon that achievement, making further progress and delivering even better results in 2015.

“There are issues to be faced and much work to be done across all parts of the group, but we believe we have robust plans in place and, even more importantly, an exceptionally talented and enthusiastic team able to rise to that challenge.”

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