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Interserve looks east after posting recession-defying half-year results

Interserve is targeting further international expansion to build on recession-busting half-year results this week.

The firm reported an 18.3 per cent year-on-year rise in pre-tax profit to £40 million for the six months to 30 June 2009.

Chief executive Adrian Ringrose said he was delighted to achieve the growth in the current economic climate, and singled out the firm’s Middle East divisions for special praise.

Interserve’s group turnover increased by 4.1 per cent from the first six months of 2008, to £951.2m this year. But the firm enjoyed a 40 per cent rise in Middle East turnover to £40.4m.

Mr Ringrose said: “It is hard not to be happy with that kind of growth in the Middle East.

“We have been saying for some time that the Middle East will remain strong.

“Yes there are problems in Dubai, but our business in that region is about much more than just Dubai.”

The chief executive said Interserve would be pushing into new territories in the region over the next six months, including Saudi Arabia, as well as increasing the firm’s activity in Abu Dhabi.

In Saudi Arabia the firm has recently opened a distribution centre for its Equipment Services business, which supplies specialised equipment used in creating major concrete structures.

Mr Ringrose said the firm’s current position of strength was partly down to 70 per cent of its clients coming from the public sector.

Interserve’s order book has been boosted by 4.7 per cent to £6.7 billion.

It has won a number of big contracts over the past six months, particularly in the water sector, where it has secured deals with United Utilities and Thames Water.

It also revealed this week that it had been named as a delivery alliance partner in South West Water’s K5 framework programme.

Interserve’s share of the £590m programme, which runs from April 2010 to March 2015, is likely to be about £100 million.

But the firm has also enjoyed some big wins in the private sector, including a £200m contract to provide facilities management across HSBC’s UK property portfolio.

The deal will see 2,500 staff transferred to Interserve to carry out work on HSBC’s 1,600 retail and 80 office sites in the UK.

Interserve is also hoping to achieve financial close before the end of the year on a deal to build a £500m waste treatment plant in Derby.

Mr Ringrose added: “Benefiting from our long-term strategy we increased profits, reduced net debt and secured further contract wins with a whole-life value in excess of £1bn that provide improved forward revenue visibility.

“As a result, we remain confident in our prospects and expect to deliver robust near-term performance and sustain our long-term growth.”