Wates specialises in construction and refurbishment projects covering everything from prisons to affordable homes and schools to retail developments. Some £650m of last year’s projects were public-sector contracts, and 73% of Wates’ business is for existing clients such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis: it is currently fitting out John Lewis’s new store in the Olympic Park in London. The Surrey-headquartered company is still owned by descendants of Edward Wates, who founded the business in 1897. Under Paul Drechsler, chairman and chief executive, the group reported sales of £895m in 2010.

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Company details
ActivityConstruction contractor
Sales £m895
Profit £m41
Year endDec 10
Principal shareholdersWates family (100%)

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure