Watkin Jones’ profit doubles thanks to build-to-rent demand

Success in the built-to-rent sector has helped Watkin Jones’ double its profit.

The group, which focuses on built-to-rent, student housing and the affordable homes markets, revealed pre-tax profit of £51.1m for the year to 30 September 2021. This was more than double the £25.3m it reported the previous year. The jump was attributed to its work in the build-to-rent market, where its gross profit had surged from £14.9m to £29.8m.

Gross profit on its student accommodation work fell £54.3m to £50.5m and in the affordable housing division, its smallest operation, fell to £2.6m from £4m.

Revenue for the year rose to over £430.2m, up from £354.1m in the previous year.

It reported a “record” rise in its rent-secured development pipeline, which it said was up by 20 per cent and valued at £1.8bn.

Watkin Jones chief executive Richard Simpson (pictured) said the results reflected the firm’s “end-to-end development capability”.

He said: “As well as handing over 12 schemes on time, we leveraged our excellent institutional relationships to drive the forward sale of some 3,800 beds and continued to enhance the depth and quality of our development pipeline, securing good visibility of future earnings.”

Watkin Jones, which operates across the UK and Ireland, also voiced support behind the UK government’s recently-announced plan to protect leaseholder from remediation costs for cladding bills on buildings under 18m.

The group said: “We are engaging with the government to clarify its plans in this regard and to confirm whether proactive remediation will be taken into account. Our existing cladding provision covers all schemes featuring ACM or HPL cladding which are still within the limitation period. In these instances, replacement works have either been completed or are being procured to commence.”

In November 2020, Watkin Jones revealed it had made a £15m provision for remedial cladding works.

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