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Balfour £15bn order book holds up in face of falling UK construction work

Balfour Beatty has offset falling orders in UK construction through support services and US contracting, it said today.

The construction and infrastructure company – which had a group turnover of £9.2 billion in 2010 – reported a £15bn order book as it posted a brief pre-close trading update this morning, ahead of its full year results in March. In 2010 the firm reported a record order book of £15.2bn.

Reporting in line with expectations, the firm said:  “We continue to manage the business on the basis that conditions in our core markets will remain difficult while positioning the group to take advantage of the positive medium and long-term prospects for infrastructure markets.”

Average net cash for the year was about £200 million.

Balfour also said today that it has injected £55m into Balfour Beatty Pension Fund after completing the sale of its 25.5 per cent stake in Barking Power Limited to the fund in December.

Andy Brown, analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “We have a positive stance on Balfour Beatty due to its broad international infrastructure positioning. It has strengthened its professional services presence while the separation of its support services highlights the increasing scale it has there.”

Analysts pre-tax profit forecasts for the year-end are in the region of £340m, up from £320m in 2010.

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