Construction and development company Wates has announced its end of year results for 2013, showing a slight reduction in pre-tax profit from £25.7m to £22.3m.
Turnover for the Manchester-based company was down to £931m from £1.2bn, while cash in the bank for reinvestment was £103.1m compared to £121.3m in the previous year.
Despite a dip in profits, the operating margin in 2013 improved from 2.2% to 2.5%, which Wates said was due to a 4% reduction in administrative expenses and non-recurring costs of £4.9m incurred last year.
The firm also revealed an order book of £2.4bn, which it said showed a 50% increase on 2012. Net assets were at £79.1m, up 12.6% on 2012.
Key projects for Wates in the North West include the construction of the £25m HOME cultural venue at First Street in Manchester, the £5.5m Hugh Baird College in Bootle, as well as working as part of a JV with Manchester City Council across five residential sites.
Andrew Davies, chief executive of Wates, said: "The Wates Group turned in a solid performance in 2013 against the challenge of prevailing market conditions. Whilst turnover was down by 22%, reflecting both some delayed starts and more selective project take-on policies, operating margins improved – comparing extremely well to others in the market.
"Our cash position remains one of the strongest in the industry and gives us the platform from which to continue our investment strategy across all business units in 2014 and beyond.
"A strong forward order book for 2014 reflects more activity in the sectors in which we operate, but the impact of this is likely to be progressive and will take some time to come through in financial performance. While increased volumes of work may indicate an improving market this year, we believe it will be 2015-16 before we see significant market recovery."