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Focus on performance lifts Kvaerner margins past 3pc

PRE-TAX margins at Kvaerner Construction have broken the 3 per cent barrier as the firm concentrates on higher-return contracts.

The margin growth highlighted in Kvaerner's figures for the first three months of the year hit 3.1 per cent compared with 1.3 per cent in 1999.

Operating margins on sales - 2.4 per cent - also outperformed the industry average of around 2 per cent.

Chief executive Keith Clarke said: 'Concentration on performance continues to give results. Our design-and-build expertise continues to grow, with the announcement of the MoD Whitehall contract an example.'

Turnover for the first quarter jumped to £311 million from £298 million last year while pre-tax profits hit £9.8 million compared with £3.8 million in 1999.