SIR ROBERT McAlpine's contracting operation has returned to profit despite a slump in turnover.
The business made a £3.1 million operating profit in the year to October 31 2001 against a £427,000 deficit in 2000 but turnover crashed £82.1 million to £494.4 million.
Group turnover rose to £756.6 million from £654.2 million and pre-tax profits soared to £17.4 from £4.3 million in 2000 as McAlpine's new wind energy business took off. But profits from Private Finance Initiative work fell as costs escalated on a £76 million hospital concession in Dudley that Summit Healthcare, a consortium comprising McAlpine and Interserve, closed in May 2001. The firm said: 'This was due to start-up losses on the investment being greater than the increase in the profits of the other PFI investments collectively.'
Turnover at the PFI division rose to £15.8 million from £13.3 million but operating profits fell £800,000 to £1.8 million.
Property turnover doubled to £14 million and provided operating profits of £1.3 million against £393,000 in 2000, but the best results came from the wind energy operation, RES, which completed a major wind farm in Texas.
Operating profits flew up to £9.5 million from £1.3 million with turnover surging to £196.2 million from just £32 million in 2000.
The windfarm work provided most of the firm's US turnover, which leapt from just £6.5 million in 2000 to £189.9 million. The fall in contracting work resulted in a drop in UK turnover to £529.7 million from £612 million in 2000.
McAlpine made a one-off profit of £7.1 million from the sale of its stake in fit-out contractor Interior but was forced to write off £6.4 million from other un-named investments.