-05 Jun. 2020

Willmott Dixon remains well positioned after keeping 100% of sites open during Covid-19*

Willmott Dixon, the privately owned construction and interiors company, publishes its accounts for the 12 months to 31 December 2019.

2019 financial highlights:

  • Turnover £1.246bn (2018: £1.323bn)
  • EBITDA** up to £39.6m (2018: £38.6m)
  • Profit before tax*** at £31.3m (2018: £37.5m)
  • Profit before tax margin*** of 2.5% (2018: 2.8%)
  • Cash at bank up to £93.1m (2018: £90.5m)
  • Bank facilities unused but committed through 2021
  • Net assets up to £183.0m (2018: £170.2m)
  • Leading position in industry payment profile league
  • Repeat business – accounted for two thirds of all orders in 2019
  • Frameworks – 75% of turnover procured via frameworks
  • Construction business turnover – £1.097bn (2018: £1.198bn)
  • Interiors business turnover – £149m (2018: £125m)

* except three closed briefly at customers’ request

** excluding non-recurring provisions

*** excluding amortisation of goodwill

Highlights so far in current financial year:

  • 90% of budgeted work secured for 2020 (at April 2020)
  • 5th in Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for awards, the best placed contractor
  • Carbon Neutral for the 7th year in succession
  • Carbon emissions intensity reduced by 5% between 2018 and 2019, down 61% from 2010 baseline
  • Diverted over 98% of non-hazardous construction waste from landfill
  • All sites and offices (where we are responsible for energy procurement) powered with 100% natural renewable electricity

Willmott Dixon’s Group Chief Executive Rick Willmott says: “Our performance in 2019 has provided a good platform for our company to continue delivering projects for customers during the challenges created by Covid-19.

“It’s been a phenomenal team effort from our people as we have adjusted our business to maintain operations during Covid-19, one that has required a high level of resourcefulness.  Our people quickly embraced the changes required to adhere to the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures, with projects and processes reconfigured to provide a safe working environment for our people and supply chain partners, whose support has been brilliant over the past few months.

“Our sites have remained open throughout, using adaptations like one-way systems for circulation, GoPro technology to capture progress, motion activated voiceover systems to remind people to abide by social distancing and staggered breaks and lunch times, with clear signage for social distancing in canteens.  We now expect all sites to remain open, although Covid-19 related safety measures and availability of materials will mean that output levels will be reduced compared to before the pandemic.  While this will inevitably impact upon pre-pandemic expectations in terms of timescales and budgets, I really appreciate how supportive our customers are being on this issue.”

Talking about future prospects, Rick continued, “While we have a healthy forward order book that stands at over £1bn, it’s inevitable that some projects may be delayed or postponed owing to the current economic situation created by Covid-19.

“My message to customers is that we are an industry that is very good at solving complex problems. We have shown in our response to the pandemic that we can adapt our processes to continue building safely and deliver the important infrastructure that will be a driver for future economic growth.”

In relation to the impact of Covid-19 on projects going forward, Rick added, “I think we need to be realistic that output reductions linked to social distancing measures, coupled with a possible lag in the supply of some materials from overseas, will inevitably have a continued impact on project prices and programme timings in the short to medium term. We are working closely with our supply chain partners and customers to mitigate this as much as possible, while ensuring that projects starting this year now take into account the likely Covid effect.”

Looking at other areas that stood out, Rick highlighted the company’s ongoing focus on leaving a legacy in communities. This saw Willmott Dixon meet its 2020 target to ‘enhance the life-chances of 10,000 young people’ 19 months early, with the value of people’s time, skills, donations and gifts-in-kind to support community-related causes valued at £1.9m in 2019.

This included providing 711 work experience opportunities and over 4,000 mock interviews, as well as mentoring over 2,223 people, with over 46,000 hours of people’s time invested in delivering community activities as volunteers.  The company also added to its network of Building Lives academies to upskill young people and ex-offenders with new facilities at Liverpool and HMP Elmley.

Rick concluded, “Willmott Dixon and the construction industry will have a huge roll to play in generating future growth that will help our economy recover when we come out of the current situation. That includes the work we do in local communities to sustain jobs and create a catalyst for inward investment.”

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