Balfour Beatty eyes Crossrail win as full year earnings fall

BALFOUR Beatty is eyeing more Crossrail contract wins this year, the incoming chief executive told City A.M. yesterday.

The FTSE 250 infrastructure group earlier this week won a £130m deal to construct a two-mile section of the Crossrail route in south east London.

Andrew McNaughton, who is due to take the reins from incumbent chief executive Ian Tyler at the end of the month, told City A.M. that there were “quite a number of packages still being decided” for Crossrail, including the contracts for the fit-out for new stations, and he was hopeful Balfour Beatty could snap them up.

McNaughton added that the company was also looking at shifting its focus to other areas, including Australia, South Africa, India and South America.

Balfour Beatty yesterday posted a seven per cent drop in underlying pre-tax profit to £310m, on £10.9bn of revenue over the year.

The group warned that construction would continue to be challenging, with revenues from its UK business expected to fall by 20 per cent in 2013.

As a result, infrastructure will remain a key sector for the group, as it tries to shift its focus away from construction in its home market, adding that it would divest its European rail businesses in a strategic move.

“Longer term infrastructure prospects are encouraging,” analyst Andy Brown at Panmure Gordon said yesterday.