Kier sees lift in profits and ups dividend

 
Kasmira Jefford
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CONSTRUCTION firm Kier’s shares rose almost six per cent yesterday after it posted better than expected profits, helped by a shift away from public sector work as budgets come under pressure.

Britain’s third largest contractor said underlying pre-tax profits for the year to June rose 24 per cent to £68.9m compared with £55.5m the previous year, on revenues up four per cent to £2.2bn.

The group cut its exposure to the public sector to 56 per cent from 75 per cent in 2010 as it shifts its focus towards private sector projects.

“We are encouraged by the prospects we see in markets such as power and waste, in mixed‑use regeneration and in the growth we see in public sector outsourcing,” chief executive Paul Sheffield said.

In a separate statement, Kier announced a it had won a four-year contract worth up to £1bn from Scape, a local government-controlled firm.

The group declared a 10 per cent hike in its dividend to 64p per share.