Balfour says it is in a good place to grow

City A.M. Reporter
BALFOUR Beatty, Britain’s biggest construction company said yesterday that underlying pre-tax profit in 2009 rose seven per cent to £267m from £249m in 2008.

The firm, whose activities span engineering, construction, road and rail transport, said its order book rose 10 per cent year-on-year to £, which it said gives it “good forward visibility”.

The group’s bottom line was boosted by growth in its construction, infrastructure investments and support services divisions. The group also announced winning its first public private partnership investment in the US outside military housing for a $123m (£81.7m) contract to expand on-campus accommodation for students at Florida Atlantic University.

Chief executive Ian Tyler yesterday insisted that there will be opportunities in the UK infrastructure market, despite public spending cuts, as the private sector drives growth in the mid-to-long term.

“I see a real opportunity, the government is going to have to look for private sector funding increasingly,” chief executive Ian Tyler said.

“There is going to be a growth in infrastructure spend, the only question is where it’s going to be funded from,” he added.

Concerns over public spending cuts, ahead of a general election and in reaction to a rising UK deficit, have weighed on UK infrastructure companies in the past 12 months.

However, UK public spending, now accounts for just under a quarter of sales at Balfour Beatty.