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Keller Group 2015 results show profit up but revenue down as acquisitions targeted

Keller Group has grown its operating profit beyond the £100m barrier despite seeing a dip in revenue for the year to 31 December 2015.

The ground engineering specialist posted a 12 per cent hike in operating profit, which rose from £92m in 2014 to £103.4m last year.

Profit before tax and exceptional items was also 12 per cent up, rising from £85.1m to £95.7m.

The results came despite a dip in global revenue from £1.6bn in 2014 to £1.56bn, which the company attributed to it bringing in “less revenue from large projects”.

Group chief executive Alain Michaelis said the drop in revenue was mainly down to the conclusion of the firm’s piling work on Australia’s AUS$30bn (£15.5bn) Wheatstone liquefied natural gas plant, which he described as “our biggest ever project”.

Mr Michaelis told Construction News Keller still had a “short and medium-term” ambition to add more companies to the group, saying it had a “healthy target list”.

He said global trends such as urbanisation, a lack of available land and the increasing use of brownfield sites would lead to consolidation in the sector.

“These are all trends that point to more sophisticated groups,” he said. “If you’re a privately held, small regional player I don’t think you’re feeling good about those trends.”

Mr Michaelis said the firm’s order book was up 15 per cent year on year, while its return on capital crept past the 20 per cent mark, which he described as “a great psychological number for the company”.

He added that this figure could grow, saying it envisaged 2016 to be “another year of solid progress”.

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