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Kier forecasts increased pre-tax profit

Kier said it expects pre-tax profits for the year ending 30 June 2008 to be up on last year even though market conditions are tough.

The contractor and house builder, which has shut four out of five residential house building offices and reduced staff in the division by 60 per cent, admitted in its trading update that the housing market continued to be tough and that sales were down on last year.

The company said conditions in the property sector have also continued to deteriorate but it still had managed to achieve all its expected development sales.

It said its construction and support services arms were both performing well. It added: “In construction, the level of tender awards has been very high during the year and our record order books reflect continued demand from both our public and private sector clients.”

Kier said the construction division has achieved record cash balances for the year. But completions at it housing arm were down nearly 14 per cent to just over 1,400.

The firm’s share price was up 4.12 per cent to £9.48 in early morning trading.