Wates specialises in construction and refurbishment projects covering everything from prisons and affordable homes to schools and shops. The Surrey-headquartered contractor with 2,650 staff was founded by Edward Wates in 1897 and is still owned by his descendants. It says that 73% of its business comes from repeat customers, which include leading retailers, such as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and John Lewis, as well as the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police. Under Paul Drechsler, chairman and chief executive, the group reported sales of £1billion in 2011
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