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Orders stabilise as Keller names new chairman

Orders at engineering specialist Keller have now stabilised following a 20 per cent drop in the Autumn of last year.

But the firm said revenue and profits are down after it had “resized” the business in various places.

In an interim management statement today Keller said that it also had to go through “further downsizing” in the UK as a result of the problems in the housing market.

The firm said: “The global recession continues to affect almost all of our markets and private funding for construction projects remains scarce. Whilst we have experienced a shift towards more publicly-financed projects, we have not as yet felt any noticeable impact from promised fiscal stimulus measures and we do not anticipate that these will benefit the Group before 2010.

“As reported in March, order intake in the autumn of last year quickly fell by around 20 per cent in constant currency terms; since when, orders have stabilised.

“In the UK, further downsizing has been necessary, as UK housing remains in the doldrums and opportunities in the commercial sector are significantly reduced.”

Keller has announced that Roy Franklin is set to take over as chairman of the firm when Dr Michael West retires in July.

Dr West has chaired the group since 1995, and was chief executive from 1982. He orginally joined in 1964.

Mr Franklin is currently a non-executive at Keller, in combination with a host of other executive posts. He was formerly chief executive of Paladin and group MD of Clyde Petroleum, following a stint in management at BP.

Keller chief executive Justin Atkinson said: “Dr West’s contribution to Keller, first as our chief executive and then as chairman, has been considerable. Having led the management buyout of Keller in 1990 and its IPO in 1994, he has since overseen its impressive growth and he will leave behind a very strong legacy.

“The executive team looks forward to working with Roy as chairman. The continuity which comes from his previous involvement on the Board for almost two years will be beneficial, as will Roy’s international experience and strategic capability.”