Mace profit sent soaring by boom in office projects

Mace’s profit has more than doubled, with office jobs and major projects aiding its recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

The firm’s pre-tax profit for the year to 31 December 2021 reached £38.3m, up from the £16.7m recorded for the previous comparable period a year earlier, which was a restated figure,.

The figure profit figure for 2020, originally £19.7m, changed due it paying dividends of £3.4m.

Mace said its profit for 2021 was a record, despite the challenges it faced in the first few months of 2021 due to the pandemic.

The group’s construction division, in particular, saw its fortunes turn as “growth in strategic sectors, including commercial offices and major projects”, boosted Mace Construct’s revenue to £1.5bn, up from £1.2bn in 2020.

It highlighted projects including the AstraZeneca headquarters in Cambridge and the Battersea Power Station redevelopment as key to its substantial growth last year.

Earlier this year, Construction News reported that the cost of AstraZeneca’s global pharmaceutical research centre and corporate HQ had tripled from an initial £330m to £1bn.

Mace Construct also benefited from increasing work in the life-sciences sector, as it scooped a £60m job to expand a science campus for Oxford University and multiple places on the £30bn Procure23 framework, in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

Total revenue increased from £1.73bn to £1.93bn, according to the latest results. The firm had secured more than 70 per cent of its 2022 pipeline by the end of 2021, which should see its revenue reach £2.15bn this year.

Despite a record profit, Mace predicted “further uncertainty” arising from the war in Ukraine. In particular, it said mounting material costs resulting from the Russian invasion would “very likely” cause delays to some future work.

The report said: “Any impending materials shortages and inflation could delay the completion of some projects, which in turn could have an adverse impact on the profitability of those projects.”

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds said 2021 was “another challenging year” for the construction industry due to the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic.

“However, our 2026 Business Strategy proved exceptional in supporting growth across our sectors, services and geographies,” added Reynolds, who is co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council.

He also said the business had become adept at adapting its approach and responding to “fast-changing global market conditions”.

Reynolds said: “The continued uncertainty caused by the Russian invasion in Ukraine, energy-price increases and, more recently, currency fluctuations is proving challenging for everyone. However, through industry collaboration and championing better ways of working, we are confident that 2022 will be another record year.”

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