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Montpellier moves back to black


MONTPELLIER has edged back into the black but the AIM-listed contracting conglomerate is still struggling to finalise settlements on a number of bad jobs.

The firm made £147,000 before tax in the six months to March 2005 after losing £19.5 million a year ago but has booked £1.9 million in extra provisions for work still being resolved.

Executive chairman Roy Harrison said: 'During the period we continued to encounter problems in the finalisation of certain legacy contract settlements.The board will continue to keep these legacy issues under close review. Despite this, the group was still profitable.'

Mr Harrison had been personally checking major tenders until former HBG and Laing Construction boss Brian May took over as Montpellier's chief executive last month.

Montpellier's turnover crept up just £13 million to £225 million after Mr Harrison closed down YJL Construction and took a more cautious approach to work taken on by another subsidiary, Allenbuild.

This had suppressed the building order book, which is down £69 million on a year ago at £203 million but the social housing order book has more than doubled to £324 million.

Not all this work will translate into turnover as negotiations to sell one social housing subsidiary, Bullock, to its management continue.