Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vincent Clancy gives an overview of our business, now in its 75th year, and describes a future focussed on growth and delivering great value.

As we celebrate our 75th year of business, our ability to transform ourselves continues to be the hallmark of our success.

I am proud of the way our people have stepped up to the COVID-19 challenge, remaining close to our clients, ensuring programmes continued and projects stayed on track.

Despite the uncertainties and challenges associated with responding to the pandemic, our business diversity, strong relationships with our clients and tremendous sense of team have enabled us to navigate through the year successfully.

I believe we will emerge a stronger, more efficient, and more effective organisation for our clients around the world.

The effectiveness of our response is also demonstrated by a strong financial performance which has seen net revenue broadly flat at £665m and operating profit rise to £114m.

I am pleased to say that while at the start of the pandemic we were grateful to lean into the UK government’s furlough support scheme, as a result of our strong performance we have repaid all monies.

75-year anniversary

Throughout our 75-year history, we have helped build the world around us, making the difference for our clients and our people.

We are trusted for our knowledge and expertise, and this heritage of trust puts us in a strong position to shape the future of the construction industry.

I believe that this industry is facing a period of significant transformation and is pivotal to solving many of the big issues facing society, not least the transition to zero carbon.

There is almost universal recognition of the need for change – to become more efficient, but also to deliver better outcomes for our clients and our society.

I am immensely proud of our people and I want to thank them, and our clients, for what we have been able to achieve together over the last seven and a half decades.

As we enter the next 75 years, I am excited by the opportunity for us to create an even greater impact.

Meeting the global challenges

Investment in the built environment is seen by governments around the world as the central driver for both economic and social recovery, with public and private investment underpinning the new normal way of life with better physical and digital communications networks.

There was clearly a tough period as our clients recalibrated after the initial pandemic shock. However, we have seen a strong finish to the year with project wins such as the six-year project management office services contract on Sydney Metro, offsetting the sharp decline in the once burgeoning global aviation sector.

For our clients in the telecommunications sector, the need for greater capacity and resilience in data centres, fibre networks and mobile connectivity has seen strong growth in activity. Similarly, across the life sciences sector, the global demand for COVID-19 vaccines and testing equipment has accelerated the rate of investment.

The fall in demand for oil and raw materials led to a tough year for our natural resources business. That said, our Q4 performance has returned to growth as confidence accelerates and as global focus moves to meet challenging global net-zero targets. It is increasingly clear that this shift towards investment in renewable and low-carbon energy sources is set to create an unprecedented opportunity.

Values, vision 2025 and purpose

In preparation for our 75th anniversary, we spent time examining the business, asking our employees, partners and clients what they valued and committing to an ambitious vision for our future.

The result is our values, vision 2025 business plan and purpose statement where we commit to helping build a greener, more inclusive and productive world. Our purpose statement puts our people firmly at the heart of the business.

We have committed to training our existing teams and bringing in new talent to help drive new thinking and new ways of working. Our challenge is to help drive investment to reskill the industry, helping to create an industry people want to join.

We recognise that tackling the climate emergency and embracing low-carbon solutions is at the top of the agenda for our clients and partners.

We are working hard to help grasp every opportunity to drive towards a net-zero future.

Our ‘NewLeaf’ programme is a new long-term commitment to practical action rather than words, to ensure the organisation across the whole global value chain reaches net zero by 2030. Turning over this new leaf means investing and adopting green technologies and behaviours – working with our industry to create a greener and more sustainable world.

We are also accelerating our investment in programme and asset management capability, digital and advisory to help drive industry collaboration and productivity improvement.

Looking to the future

I am confident that as our markets recover and investment accelerates to drive the post-COVID-19 global economy, we have the talent and the vision to succeed.

We are in a position to capitalise on opportunities and help our clients and partners to thrive as the new operating environment unfolds. Our mindset is focused on growth and on delivering great value to our clients and communities.

To that end, in July we announced our intention to enter into a strategic partnership agreement with CBRE.

This partnership in our 75th year will provide us with an opportunity to accelerate our investment plans and to transform our capability to deliver right across the world.

Our industry is at the point of embracing significant change and this new partnership will allow us to be at the vanguard of that change. 

We are bold about the future and clear about where we see the opportunities, how we will respond for our clients and the role our teams will play in delivering this success.