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Willmott Dixon ups bonuses and profits

FINANCE - Construction firm's staff make sales of £430,000 each as turnover increases

WILLMOTT Dixon has upped incentive payments to its 900-odd staff by a total of £1 million to more than £3.5 million.

The privately-owned construction firm generated sales of £430,000 for each member of staff last year ? that compares to £177,000 per member of staff at Balfour Beatty, the industry's biggest plc contractor.

Chief executive officer Rick Willmott said: 'There are different incentive schemes for office and site staff.

'Project incentives are based on finishing a project on time, customer satisfaction scores and completing defects. If we hit all of those, a project will be a success but it may not make any money.

'Construction is hugely competitive and we're probably making a 2.5 per cent pretax margin from construction. The difference between those at the top end is the number of own goals you score.'

Own goals were kept to a minimum in 2005 as pre-tax profits rose £419,000 to a record £10.5 million.

At the start of last year, the firm floated social housing maintenance arm Inspace on the Alternative Investment Market.

Replacing that lost turnover was expected to take up to three years but Willmott's workload edged up £2.7 million to £412.7 million last year. The firm's social housing contracting arm turned over £130 million last year, while Willmott Dixon Construction upped turnover from £200 million to £285 million.

Two-thirds of construction work came from public sector contracts, chiefly education. Private sector work included completion of a re-fit of 52 Safeway stores and jobs for leisure operators DC and David Lloyd.

Mr Dixon added: 'The vast majority of our public sector customers accept there is a right price to pay and have their heads around best value. In the private sector, there is a different mindset between an owner-occupier like Morrison and David Lloyd than some commercial operators that don't want to hold onto a property.'