Balfour Beatty sees profit lift

Marion Dakers
CONSTRUCTION group Balfour Beatty said it was well-placed to withstand public sector spending cuts as it announced an increased order book and an earnings boost from its US acquisition.

The construction firm said yesterday half-year pre-tax profit rose by 32 per cent to £141m, compared with £107m in 2009.

“Our strategy has been to build Balfour as a global infrastructure business. The results now reflect the acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff ... it’s performed extremely well in the first half,” chief executive Ian Tyler said.

Profit at Balfour’s professional services division rose to £49m, against £6m in 2009,
largely as a result of the company buying US management firm Parsons Brinkerhoff,
which contributed a profit of £35m.

Its interim dividend rose five per cent to 5.05p per share.

Balfour also has signed a £460m contract for the second phase of satellite building for Terminal Two at Heathrow.

Tyler remained confident in the face of government cuts in the construction sector.

“While there are challenges in some markets, overall we still would see in 2010 to 2011 areas where the business will grow,” he said.

The firm’s order book stood at £14.6bn in June, up from £14.1bn at the end of last year. Tyler pointed out that a substantial number of contracts were funded by industry rather than the public sector.