Updates from Serco and Balfour Beatty

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Friday saw the FTSE 100 slip 34 points, down -0.51% in total, to 6,647. Owner of British Airways, IAG Group, saw the day's biggest climb, up +6.70% to 317p, while bookie William Hill tumbled -7.28% to 458p on full-year profit guidance concern.

Overnight in Asia the Nikkei 225 slips -1.44 to 14,258 while the Hang Seng is up +0.16% to 22,227.
A quiet day for corporate numbers. First, Serco confirms the award of a $115m contract from the US Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). There's further four one-year options with a potential total contract value of $1.25bn.

"We have," says chief exec Christopher Hyman, "extensive experience in records management and processing for the US Government, and following the award of the Virginia transport management contract earlier this year we are making excellent progress in our strategy to further broaden the portfolio."

Serco Group saw its Buy rating recently restated by investment analysts from Cantor Fitzgerald in a note to investors. HSBC recently restated their Neutral rating on Serco.

Next, Ultra Electronics says revenue for the six months to 30 June came in at £367.7m, down -0.7% on last year. However underlying operating profit climbs +1.0% to £57.9m. The interim dividend per share is +4.1% up.

Ultra claims it's bidding on a number of larger contracts that, if won, could provide additional medium-term growth, although at present the timing of these is uncertain. The Board is confident of performance expectations being met for the year as a whole.

The security & cyber, transport and nuclear energy markets remain strong with good trading in the period it claims. "Procurement process constraints and uncertainty in both the US and UK defence markets currently impact order flow and reduce visibility. Despite this, the Group has secured a number of key contract wins."

Lastly, Balfour Beatty claims it has been appointed preferred bidder for a mixed-use development contract with the University of West Florida with an estimated value at completion of £330 million (US$500 million).

The Project is comprised of the University Park and Northwest Village projects. The project will be delivered in phases over a 10-year period, with the first phase expected to reach financial close in 2014.

"We look forward," says Andrew McNaughton, Balfour Beatty CEO, "to working with the University of West Florida, Aberystwyth University and The University of Edinburgh to deliver these fantastic projects that will greatly enhance the student experience."