Construction firms post against-the-odds results

8 March 2010

Balfour Beatty, the UK’s biggest contractor, announced healthy results for 2009, with turnover breaking the £10 billion barrier for the first time.

Building reported an 8 per cent rise in turnover for the company, from £9.5bn to £10.3bn. Pre-tax profit before exceptional items increased 7%, from £249m to £270m.

In January the group announced the division of its business into four segments. These include professional services, construction services, support services and infrastructure investments.

Construction services and infrastructure investments reported the best performance.

Operating profit in the infrastructure investments division jumped 35% from £31m to £42m in 2008 as turnover rose from £553m to £830m. Operating profit in construction services increased 24 per cent, from £167 million to £207 million on the back of a rise in turnover from £7.4 billion to £7.8 billion

Chief executive Ian Tyler said: “Our business has continued to perform well and finished the year with a strong order book of £14.1bn.

Building also reported on Carillion's results, which saw a 16% increase in 2009 profit to £182m, a figure boosted by a strong performance in the Middle East.

The group’s results for the year ending 31 December 2009 saw a £5.4bn turnover, up 4% on the figure in 2008, and an operating margin of 4% compared to 3.7% in 2008.

The results were buoyed by a strong performance in the Middle East, following successful expansion into Abu Dhabi and a strong performance in Oman.

Housebuilders Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon also reported better-than-expected results. Taylor Wimpey, posted a loss of £640.6m for 2009 – much improved from a loss of £1.84bn in 2008.

Construction News reported that it has now halved its net debt to £750.9m, from £1.5bn at the end of 2008.

And Construction News also carried a report on Persimmon, which recorded  a £77.8m pre-tax profit for 2009 compared to a loss of £780m in 2008 after writing up the value of its landbank.

Persimmon said the write up reflected “a combination of both an improvement in revenues and a reduction in development costs”.

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