Firm says annual revenues for 2016 dipped, but profits double

Willmott Dixon has reported an 8% reduction in turnover for 2016, having “slimmed down” its activity in residential contracting.

However the group, which revamped its housing and support services businesses at the beginning of this year, said 2016 pre-tax profit had more than doubled, with management noting the financial performance for the year had been “slightly better than expected”.

Reported revenue was £1.22bn, while profit before tax more than doubled to £28m. Profit from joint ventures quadrupled to £7.8m.

The firm said the profit hike was “mainly influenced by improvements from contracting activity, particularly the unhelpful impact of a number of legacy housing projects having been removed”.

Willmott Dixon said it was in line to build more than 2,500 homes for rent, and its Be residential operation required “a material injection of expansion capital to support what is becoming a substantial business with significant potential”. The process of attracting such funding was underway, it added.

The group had previously been considering a stock market listing for the residential business but makes no mention of this in its latest results.

Willmott Dixon also revamped its support services division – naming it Fortem – after failing to find a buyer for it last year. It said that while there had been the “obvious distraction of aborted sale negotiations”, the operation’s team had been “rejuvenated” by the decision to make it a standalone brand.

The firm recently won both its targeted lots in the recent £7bn Scape major frameworks, which it said would provide potential contract volumes up to £2.25bn over the course of the next four years for public sector customers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Willmott Dixon had previously been Scape’s sole contractor.