United Living announces strong financial results for 2016-17
United Living has bucked the industry trend to report record margins for 2016/17.
The average margins of the UK’s top 150 contractors and house builders have only risen from 1.05% to 1.78% - an increase of two-thirds. However, United Living’s margin is now up from 2.3% to 5.3%, meeting already a 2020 target set by the executive team. Turnover was down for the year at £181m compared to £220m last year. However, profits (EBITDA) rose by 86% to £9.5m (from £5.1m reported in 2015/16).
The future for United Living is extremely positive with a secured forward order book exceeding £720m, a record for the business. The secret to United Living’s success is down to a very strong customer base which is bringing more and more repeat work. The increasing number of mergers in the sector together with the stated strategy of major customers to increase development activity is creating further partnerships and opportunities for the business.
United Living recognises the importance of social value in business and to this end has invested in the next generation of housing and construction talent by setting up an in-house apprenticeship programme, as well as joining the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) programme. This is a national scheme accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), which sees a number of graduates joining United Living in various roles across the business each year. United Living is the first contractor to sign up to the GEM programme and it has been a hugely successful way to recruit the next generation into a company which connects construction and social housing.
Ian Burnett, chief executive of United Living said: “We have demonstrated resilience in our second full year of operation; a period when our customer base of Registered Providers has had to deal with significant changes to their own business plans following the cuts to housing rents. Given this context, I am delighted that we have been able to deliver a turnover of £180m this year.
“We had set ourselves a 2020 target to increase our EBITDA to 5% and we have already exceeded this which is outstanding. It is testament to the innovative way in which we work and the value that we continue to add for our clients across the UK.
“We are forecasting growth to £250m for 2017/18 and have already secured more than £230m of this. As a group we are now working on a wide variety of projects from bungalows to floor tower blocks. We are intensifying our focus on London and the South East as this is where there is a high demand with Sadiq Khan committing to the building of around 20,000 affordable homes in London alone each year, over the next four years. We also continue to invest and develop our partnerships in the regions, supporting efforts to bolster future supply with initiatives such as the Greater Manchester spatial framework.
“Our repairs and maintenance arm keeps on strengthening too, and last year alone we refurbished more than 7,500 properties across the country. This area of our business is now branching out to student accommodation projects including work for Royal Holloway University and Sanctuary Housing.”
United Living has recently been appointed to the Homes and Communities Agency DPP3 Framework and is preparing to begin new partnerships with local authorities and central government as a result.
Other recent contract wins include some major regeneration projects across the country such as Pollards Hill Estate (Merton) in partnership with Moat, and the Pillgwenlly Estate (South Wales) in partnership with Newport City Homes.
United Living has also moved forward with land led schemes and now has around 1,300 units in various forms of control that are allowing the creation of new partnerships to deliver the much-needed homes this country needs.