Updates from Serco, Mitie Group and Keller

Serco chairman Alastair Lyons exits following huge losses meanwhile Japan's economy slips into recession

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savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100, keller, serco, Friday saw the FTSE 100 recover almost 19 points, ending at 6,654.3. Aggreko and Petrofac saw decent rises, up 3.3% and 2.5% to 1594p and 1151p respectively while AberdeenAssetManagement also climbed strongly, up 2.1% to 441.6p. The two biggest losers were IntertekGroup, down almost 3% to 2659p and SABMiller, slipping 1.7% to 3494.50p.

Stateside, the Dow Jones drifted 18 points south to 17,634.7 but that's still a weekly gain for the fourth consecutive week. However Japan's economy, it has just been announced, shrinks in the second quarter.

We start with a Mitie Group six-month update. The outsourcer and infrastructure player claims headline revenue growth of 4.8% to £1,095m with headline operating profit up 3.0% (2.2% organic) to £64.2m and operating profit margin at 5.9%.

It claims growth of both headline basic earnings per share and the dividend, up 5.1% and 6.1% respectively. The property management division should have a more buoyant second half, supported by planned project works it claims (Mitie shares remain 8.4% down YTD at 291.5p).

"We have," says boss Ruby McGregor-Smith, "delivered a strong performance in our facilities management business during the first half of the year, and we expect to gain further positive momentum through the rest of the year."

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Next, an interim from Keller Group. The international engineering specialist says trading for the Group in the four months to October is in line with expectations, with both revenue and operating profit ahead of 2013.

However after a strong first half for contract awards, order intake has been "somewhat slower" and the value of the like-for-like order book at the end of October, for work for the next 12 months, is slightly behind.

"European markets," it says, "as a whole remain difficult with few signs of improvement, whilst early signs of a recovery in the commercial and infrastructure sectors in Australia have dissipated in recent months. Our Asian construction markets are generally busy."

We end with news that outsourcer Secro chairman Alastair Lyons has stepped down. Lyons says he takes ultimate responsibility for operational "mis-steps" - Serco has written off £1.5bn recently. The company has been beset by profit warnings.

2014 profits are now expected to come in at the £130m-£140m region, significantly lower than originally indicated. Its shares have tumbled 30% recently.

"Whilst colleagues have asked me not to resign," says Lyons, "it has been my intention to step down once a new strategy and direction for the business were in place. I am, therefore, taking the necessary steps to ensure an orderly process for my own succession during the first half of 2015."

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