Services help to lift Balfour Beatty profit

City A.M. Reporter
BALFOUR Beatty, Britain’s largest contractor, yesterday posted a nine per cent rise in full-year profit as growth at its professional services and infrastructure units helped offset weakness at its British and US construction businesses.

Balfour, which operates in some 80 countries and offers a range of infrastructure services, revealed an underlying pre-tax profit of £334m on revenues three per cent higher at £9.49bn. The company, which recently handed over the Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympics, increased the full year dividend by nine per cent to 13.8 pence, but warned that the outlook was mixed.

“Looking ahead, we are cognisant of some near-term challenges ... but our ongoing programmes to achieve cost efficiency and to recycle capital in our investments business were successful in 2011, and we plan to accelerate them,” the company said in a statement.

“We have confidence that these programmes will underpin performance. This should ensure that we make progress in 2012.”

Balfour said profit improved in professional services, support services and infrastructure investments in 2011, although construction services profit was lower, primarily as a result of declining margins in US construction.