Balfour Beatty reports steep rise in profits to stay "on track" for industry-standard margins

Rebecca Smith
The firm had sold stakes in the company that operates the M25
The firm had sold stakes in the company that operates the M25 (Source: Getty)

Infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty has reported a surge in profits for 2017, noting a boost from selling two stakes in the company that operates the M25.

Read more: Balfour Beatty lands $2bn LA airport deal – to build a two-mile railway

The figures

Balfour Beatty said underlying profit from operations had more than doubled from £69m in 2016 to £196m last year.

Underlying pre-tax profit jumped from £62m to £165m last year, while underlying revenue was fairly flat at £8.2bn.

It recommended a full-year dividend of 3.6p per share, up on 2016's 2.7p.

Balfour Beatty said it remained "on track" for industry-standards margins in the second half of 2018.

Why it's interesting

The firm announced in December it had offloaded stakes in the firm which operates the M25. Today, it said the M25 partial sales were in line with its strategy to maximise value from its investments portfolio.

Cash remains the most "important barometer of financial performance" for Balfour Beatty, and during the year it had average net cash of £42m; at year end, it had net cash of £335m.

In January, Balfour Beatty said it would be boosted by tax reforms in the US, shortly after noting a blow from the collapse of Carillion. It had joint ventures with Carillion on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, the A14 in Cambridgeshire and junctions on the M60 and M62, and Balfour said it was likely to have a cash impact between £35m and £45m.

What the company said

Leo Quinn, group chief executive, said,

These results clearly demonstrate that our Build to Last programme is transforming Balfour Beatty. The group has been repositioned to drive sustainable growth in profits, underpinned by a strong balance sheet. It has the right culture and capabilities to capitalise on the rising tide of infrastructure spend in our chosen markets.

As a result of Build to Last, and the governance and controls now in place, we remain on track to achieve industry-standard margins in the second half of 2018. In the medium term, we are building a group capable of delivering market-leading performance.

Read more: Balfour Beatty boosted by US tax reforms after Carillion blow

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