Balfour Beatty profit rises

 
City A.M. Reporter
Balfour Beatty, Britain's largest construction company, said first-half underlying pre-tax profit rose 12 per cent, boosted by the sale of infrastructure investments, and said it was on track to meet its own expectations for the full year.

The company, which operates in more than 80 countries and whose projects include London's Olympics Aquatics Centre, said today that underlying profit before tax for the six months to 29 June was £154m, compared to £138m from the same period last year.

It said it had secured £5bn of new orders in the first half, contributing to a stable order book at £15bn versus an order book of £15.2bn in the same period last year. It also increased its interim dividend by 6 per cent to 5.6 pence.

"We have delivered another set of solid results in challenging markets and remain on track to meet our expectations for the full year," said chief executive Ian Tyler in a statement.

Balfour Beatty made a £52m gain from the sale of two infrastructure assets over the period, it said. It added that it had active bids in the UK in sectors such as student accommodation and had been shortlisted for a number of projects in North America.

The company said its professional services division had continued to performed well due to its geographic diversity and non-cyclical nature, but that there were still volume and margin pressures in the UK and US markets as anticipated.