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Balfour Beatty trading 'consistent' with expectations

Balfour Beatty has said it is trading in line with expectations with average cash in the second half of the year exceeding £400 million up £58 million on the same period in 2009.

In a trading update ahead of its full year results to be announced in March the firm said: “Our high-quality order book of £15 billion reflects the strength of our technical expertise, increasing local coverage and ability to provide integrated solutions.”

Balfour Beatty reported that construction services has performed well overall and that “although we have not yet seen a discernible recovery in the parts of the UK market which have been weak, the business benefited from good operational performance and ongoing tight control of costs.

“The reduction in the rate of revenue decline seen in the US at the time of the Q3 IMS has continued into Q4, and Hong Kong has remained buoyant”.

The group’s professional services business, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s results are included for the full year for the first time. The update states that performance in the sector has exceeded expectations despite the continuing delay in the re-authorisation of the Highways Bill in the US, which has limited the progress of the award of larger projects.

Balfour Beatty said that substantial new wins have boosted its supports services division, but its revenue and profits for the year have been impacted adversely by a slow start-up of AMP5 contracts in the water utilities sector which has continued through the second half.

In infrastructure investments, the group say they had a number of significant wins in 2010 and continue to have an active pipeline of bids.

“We recently achieved financial close on the Derby City, Ealing and Oldham schools programmes. In addition, we are working to bring a further four projects in a range of sectors to financial close.”

For their overall outlook, Balfour Beatty say they are strategically well-placed in major markets to benefit from the long-term growth in global infrastructure spending.
“The group’s order book, its capabilities across the infrastructure lifecycle and its operations in diverse markets and geographies give the business strength and resilience. We remain confident about the outlook for the Group.”

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