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Pre-tax profits at Mitie, the building maintenance and painting group, have leapt by 47 per cent to £1.4 million in the half ending September (1992: £943,000).The group,which is run by former BET managers, said all its companies performed well despite difficult conditions. Markets continued to grow for multi-discipline contracts and the firm's South-East cleaning operation had been turned around. Profits were also improved by combining Mitie's painting and fabric maintenance operations.Turnover rose by 31 per cent to £47 million and the dividend was raised by a third.Chairman David Telling said: 'Painting and building maintenance has had the hardest two or three years ever. Mechanical and electrical is not much better. Prices have been on the floor.'He said low demand in the building industry had prompted many larger contractors to move into the maintenance business, depressing margins.But Mr Telling added: 'We are beginning to see a little bit of an upturn, but only just.' CONSTRUCTION NEWS