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Wates to build on housebuilding success by targeting more council partnerships

Wates is about to pursue extra joint ventures with native councils, after the association landed them a number of bumper contracts over the past yr.

Wates noted in its annual results this morning that it had returned to its pre-pandemic pre-tax revenue, following a big hit from the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Wates’s pre-tax revenue for the yr to 31 December 2021 got here in at £35.9m, compared with a revenue of £34.5m in 2019.

Firm chief government David Allen informed Development Information he’s “seeking to pump in capital” to construct extra relationships with native councils.

The corporate secured a £700m strategic development partnership with Harrow Council in July, committing to construct 1,500 houses within the space over the following decade.

Wates has tied up related offers with Havering and Cardiff councils up to now few years. The Havering settlement is to regenerate 12 estates over 12 years with a price of £1bn. In the meantime, in Cardiff, Wates is delivering 1,500 new houses over 10 years in a deal value £190m.

“We’re very happy with our relationship with councils in Harrow, Havering and Cardiff,” Allen stated. “In these situations, we act as improvement managers and companions with native authorities, and we’re actually eager to do extra work in that space and want to pump in additional capital to make that potential.”

Alongside partnerships with native councils, Allen stated income would even be invested in enhancing the digital operations of the enterprise.

“We’re investing in knowledge – we’re bringing within the knowledge scientists we have to get most perception from all the info we maintain about our enterprise, concerning the buildings we create and concerning the buildings we keep,” he stated.

“We’ve had the licences, we’ve had the software program and we’ve had the IT infrastructure for various years. That is about bringing in folks with these knowledge administration abilities who can assist us make extra of what we’ve already received.

“That can allow us to assist all of our prospects make actually sensible choices about how they configure initiatives and their estates sooner or later.”

The funding plan additionally stretches to innovation inside building, Allen stated. Final yr, Wates ploughed funds into its offsite manufacturing manufacturing facility in Coventry, generally known as Prism.

“We’ve invested closely in design capabilities there and in creating extra capability. We’re additionally actually open to partnering with different individuals who have capabilities that can assist us take an extra step on using offsite manufacturing,” he added.

Wates has usually been centered on constructing natural development, however Allen didn’t rule out pursuing acquisitions if the chance emerged.

“We’re actually open-minded. If we noticed an space the place we might fill a niche with an acquisition, we’d completely be ready to try this. I’m positive the board would reply positively to proposals like that.”

However he echoed warnings made by Balfour Beatty chief government Leo Quinn earlier this month in saying that inflation would “stay a major problem” for the sector.

“We’re going to want to reply with an excessive amount of intelligence and flexibility if we’re going to achieve managing that.”

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