Interserve boosted by outsourcing

SHARES in building maintenance firm Interserve rose yesterday after it reported an 18.7 per cent rise in first-half profit and said economic pressures would further boost public and private sector outsourcing.<br /><br />The firm, which cleans Britain&rsquo;s crown courts and maintains government buildings, posted a pre-tax profit of &pound;40m, up 18.7 per cent year-on-year, on sales 4.1 per cent higher at &pound;951m for the period.<br /><br />The results were driven by strong demand from cost-cutting government bodies and a solid overseas performance, with international operations generating over half of the company&rsquo;s profits.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re winning plenty of new work and most of our public sector contracts are long term and now encompass up to 12 services, with the government looking to buy more and more,&rdquo; said chief executive Adrian Ringrose.<br /><br />Interserve said its overseas unit had continued to deliver good results, especially in the Middle East where it sees stability on Dubai and growth potential in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.<br /><br />The company, whose clients also include J Sainsbury and HSBC said, its pipeline of future work is up 4.7 per cent year-on-year to &pound;6.7bn.<br /><br />But the group said many private sector clients were still being affected by the recession.