Taking social housing arm Inspace back in-house prompts total overhaul of company framework

Willmott Dixon has overhauled its structure after taking Inspace, its social housing arm, back in-house.

It bought the group for £148m in January after an unsuccessful two-and-a-half years on the alternative investment market.

As part of the shake-up, Rick Willmott, the firm’s chief executive (pictured), has set up a parent company called Willmott Dixon Holdings to oversee Inspace, Willmott Dixon and Rock, its specialist PPP consultant. He will become group chief executive.

John Frankiewicz will step up from chief operating officer to become chief executive of Willmott Dixon, which includes Willmott Dixon Construction and sustainability arm Re-Thinking. It also includes facilities management division Willmott Dixon Maintain and its rebranded fit-out business, which have moved across from the Inspace operation.

Inspace will now focus purely on social housing, with a housebuilding and a repair and maintenance division. Its chief executive will be Chris Durkin, who is promoted from chief operating officer.

Sir Michael Latham will remain as a non-executive of Willmott Dixon, but will also become a non-executive director of Inspace.

Willmott said: “The restructure gives us much greater diversity and a broader base in what are less predictable times. Even in a complete disaster scenario we will still need social housing.”

The shake-up, which resulted in no redundancies, follows the announcement of its results for the year to 31 December 2007.

Pre-tax profit fell 79% from £48.2m to £10.1m, after the one-off proceeds in 2006 from the £64.5m sale of social housing arm Widacre to Inspace.

Turnover was up 6% from £359.3m to £380.4m but Willmott expects the figure in 2008 to be closer to £830m after the reintegration of Inspace. Willmott Dixon is forecast to turn over £580m this year and Inspace will contribute about £250m.

Willmott said the company was still on course to hit £1bn by 2010, saying: “We still have very good visibility for the next 18 months to two years.”

As part of the changes, the group has rebranded. “The logo was a bit eighties,” said Willmott.

Turnover breakdown

Construction division in 2007:

Prisons 10%
Health 5%
Hotel 5%
Education 45%
Leisure 25%
Retail and commercial 10%