Balfour Beatty profits up as turnaround continues

Infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty has posted rising full-year profits as a turnaround under boss Leo Quinn continues to gather momentum.

The FTSE 250-listed group, which is behind Crossrail, reported a 5% increase in pre-tax profit to £123 million last year.

Revenues slipped by 5% to £7.8 billion but this was partly due to the firm cutting back on less profitable work.

Balfour said a “higher quality” order book increased 11% to £12.6 billion, with its UK and US construction arms reporting underlying margin growth in line with industry standards in the second half of the year.

Construction services profit increased 32% and gross debt reduced by over 40% as it repaid £231 million of convertible bonds.

Mr Quinn, who has been reducing costs and trying to raise productivity, hailed the group’s “Build to Last” transformation programme.

“These results demonstrate the value being created through Build to Last. We continue to strengthen the group and meet our targets. The businesses are back at industry standard margins, underpinned by a strong balance sheet and asset base.

“But Balfour Beatty’s transformation goes well beyond resolving the issues of forced growth. We have relentlessly invested in capability and leadership to forge a culture which provides sustainable competitive advantage through standardisation of our systems and processes, on a reducing overhead base.”

Looking ahead, the group said it is confident of performing in line with market expectations for 2019.

Shares were up marginally in morning trade at 287p.