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Balfour Beatty slips into £14m loss

12 August 2020
Leo Quinn
Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn

Balfour Beatty made an underlying half-year loss of £14m as a result of the financial impacts of covid-19, but chief executive Leo Quinn asserted that the effects of the crisis will pass.

The contractor reported underlying revenue of £4.1bn for the half year 2020, compared to just under £3.9bn in the same period the year before.

But it slipped into a £14m underlying loss, from a £72m profit a year ago.

Nonetheless, the group’s order book increased more than 20% to £17.5bn, driven by notice to proceed on HS2, and it reported half-year net cash of £563m, up from £512m in the 2019 financial year.

Quinn said: “Since the covid-19 crisis broke, our mission has been to safely manage through it while protecting the group’s strengths.  That meant balancing the needs of all our stakeholders. We have kept sites open wherever safe to do so, prioritised supply chain payments and supported staff. Our people’s response has been outstanding, working tirelessly whatever the challenge, to enable Balfour Beatty to provide the daily infrastructure relied on by the public.

“We have preserved the disciplines, expert capability and financial strength we will need as markets move back to normal and then beyond, driven by fiscal stimulus for infrastructure. In achieving this, our systems, processes and leadership have all proved the value of our investments over the last five years.

“The financial impacts of covid-19 are unavoidable; but they will pass. Since the start of Build to Last [Balfour Beatty’s transformation programme], our balance sheet, order book and expert capability are at record levels. We look forward with confidence to returning to profitable managed growth, and to delivering ongoing value for all our stakeholders.”