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Keller order intake down 22pc in the first half

Keller has said its order intake in the first half of this year is 22 per cent down as reduced global construction spending continued to weigh on its margins.

In a trading update for the period from 1 July 2009 to 11 November Keller said both turnover and margins since the first half have continued to be below the comparable period in 2008.

But the statement added that viewed in the context of the difficult market conditions, the results so far reflect a resilient performance.

The ground engineering specialist said its financial position remains strong.

After payment for the acquisition of Resource Holdings, net debt at the end of October stood at approximately £100 million compared with £95.3 million on 30 June 2009.

Keller retains over £200 million of committed debt facilities expiring between 2010 and 2014 to meet its strategic and operational goals.

Net debt stands at 100 million pounds while markets remain depressed in the US commercial and residential sector as well as in continental Europe, it said.

But it added it continues to trade in line with market expectations and its UK business will benefit in the second half from a restructuring earlier this year.

A statement said: “Given our trading in the year to date, the board’s expectations for the full year remain unchanged and within the current range of market expectations.

“Order intake, which in the first half of the year was down 22 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared with the preceding first half, has since remained reasonably steady.

“However, reduced levels of construction expenditure around the world have, as expected, resulted in tighter pricing which will generate lower margins until our markets recover.”