Wates recently won a £280m contract to rebuild and refurbish Luton’s 13 secondary schools under the Building Schools for the Future initiative. The company, which also constructs and refurbishes prisons, affordable homes, offices and retail premises, won Building magazine’s Major Contractor of the Year award in 2009. The Surrey business is still owned by descendants of Edward Wates, who founded the company in 1897. Profits have increased by just under 72% a year from £8.1m in 2005 to £40.1m in 2008 on sales of just over £1 billion under Paul Drechsler, chairman and chief executive.
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