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Healthy Keller on the rise in US and Australia

FINANCE

A SLIGHT weakening in the US housing market failed to prevent UK-based ground engineers Keller more than doubling profits in the first half of this year.

The firm raised pre-tax profits £17.7 million to £33.3 million in the six months to June as turnover rocketed £115 million to £450 million. Chief executive Justin Atkinson said: 'On the west coast and Texas it's coming off slightly but the real driver in the US is the commercial market.'

Only 30 per cent of Keller's operations in the US come from residential work.

In the UK, Keller should turn over around £120 million this year with Phi, a retaining wall specialist bought for £6 million in April, performing 'very well'.

Half of the UK workload comes from social housing arm Makers, where profitability improved in the first half of this year with a recruitment freeze keeping costs down despite rising turnover.

Keller's profits surged in Australia, where the group cemented its place as the top foundations specialist with last week's acquisition for £9.6 million of Piling Contractors, a £20 million turnover outfit.