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Falling profit at Keller and Travis Perkins

Keller last week became the first contractor in the new results season to report falling profit and turnover, as well as highlighting concerns about increased competition for work.

The ground engineer said conditions in most of its markets remained tough, with margins squeezed by strong competition for business.

Keller’s pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 June fell to £41 million from £54.2m the previous year. Turnover fell 3 per cent to £552.6m.

The firm’s chairman Michael West announced he was retiring after 14 years in the role, with the reigns being handed over to non-executive director Roy Franklin.

Keller chief executive Justin Atkinson said: “While there are a few encouraging signs, conditions in most of our markets remain tough.”

Meanwhile, builder’s merchant Travis Perkins reported a 27 per cent fall in half-year pre-tax profit, but bosses said there were signs of stability in its markets.

Travis Perkins’ pre-tax profit totaled £90.4m for the six months to 30 June, down 27 per cent from the £124.5m earned in the same period a year earlier.

The firm’s turnover fell in the same period by 13 per cent to £1.45 billion from £1.67 billion. Travis Perkins closed just three out of 1,223 branches during the period.

Chief executive Geoff Cooper said: “With strong market positions, attractive services and products, and financial security, the group is well placed to continue to perform ahead of competitors through this recession and to grow its business as longer term market prospects improve.”

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