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North Midland set for further growth

FINANCE - Pre-tax profits hit £1.8 million for half year but margins slip to 2.6 per cent

NORTH Midland's regional expansion is set to resume next year with the Nottinghamshire-based contractor looking for two more outlets.

North Midland, which lifted pre-tax profits £222,000 to £1.8 million in the first half of 2005, will initially operate Nomenca out of the south-eastern office but will look for civil and building work.

Chairman Robert Moyle said: 'Nomenca has some work for Anglian Water so we are looking for some form of base in the eastern counties.

'We have offices in Bristol and Plymouth but nothing in the south-east. Nomenca has started working for Thames Water, so we'll also look for a regional office around the M25 in 2006.

'We will then do what we have done with our other regional offices and build on Nomenca's presence.'

North Midland's building division had a poor end to last year after struggling to finish a troublesome project but recovered in the first half of 2005, when group turnover ballooned £21.7 million to £68.5 million.

This expansion has dented margins at the group, which are traditionally one of the best at a quoted contractor but slipped from 3.3 per cent this time last year to 2.6 per cent.

North Midland has a £120 million order book, which excludes any partnering work not scheduled for this year. That total is split equally between Nomenca and the building and civils operations.

Mr Moyle said: 'Building came back strongly in the first half.

'We were a bit worried about the transition between the AMP3 and AMP4 spending rounds by the water authorities and how that might affect Nomenca. There is always a slowdown but the work is coming back.' North Midland's civils arm experienced the biggest rise in workload, with more work com ing on st ream in the nor th-east.