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Keller taking it "one year at a time"

Keller bosses said today it is a case of “one year at a time”, but the firm’s broad geographic spread and strong balance sheet will see it through the global economic troubles.

The firm reported a 25 per cent rise in turnover to £1.2 billion and a 10 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to £113.2 million for the year to 31 December.

But bosses warned there will be tough times ahead and cost cuts will need to be made.

Keller chief executive Justin Atkinson said: “Last year was an excellent performance.

“There is no doubt 2009 will be much tougher. I am not the first person to say that.

“The problems will remain throughout 2009 and it will be a very challenging year. It is almost a case of one year at a time.

“We will have to cut costs in certain areas. We have already taken significant costs out of our Suncoast business as well as our divisions in Spain and the UK.

“We will continue to have to do that.”

The company has seen its order book reduce 10 per cent last year which was described as “a reflection of the market”.

But Mr Atkinson said: “We have a broad business in terms of geographies and product. We operate in many currencies other than sterling.

“We have been noticing for several months the strength of public sector infrastructure work in markets all over the world. We will be focusing our efforts in these areas.

“We have a very strong balance sheet. Our gearing was less than 30 per cent and we can generate our own cash.”