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Keller order book at 'all time high'

Ground engineering firm Keller Group has seen an 8 per cent growth in turnover, and its order book was at an “all time high” level by the end of January 2012, according to its latest results announcement.

Revenue for the year to 31 December 2011 stood at £1.15 billion, up 8 per cent from the £1.07bn in 2010.

Pre-tax profit was down 44 per cent to £21.9 million, while operating profit slid by one third to £28.9m. But Keller said its order book as at January 2012 was 40 per cent up on the previous year to all-time high levels.

The results follow the group issuing a profit warning last November, with the group announcing at the time plans to close its St Helens office.

Keller chief executive Justin Atkinson said: “These results reflect tough market conditions which remained very challenging throughout 2011, with the uncertain macro-economic outlook impeding any significant recovery in our mature construction markets - principally the US and Western Europe - and overcapacity maintaining pressure on margins.     

“Overall, whilst the business is expected to show steady improvement in 2012, the year will not be without further challenges, particularly given the economic uncertainty and a slow start to the year in Europe.  

“However, with signs of strengthening demand in certain of our key markets, an increased number of larger projects in the order book and with the benefits of our Group-wide business improvement initiatives starting to come through, we are confident that 2012 will be a year of progress.”

The Europe, Middle East and Africa arm of the business, which includes the UK as of January 2012 under a company restructure, grew turnover by 8 per cent to £384.8m and increased operating profit by 4 per cent to £8.4m.

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