Balfour’s order book grows

Construction and engineering giant Balfour Beatty said trading has been in line with expectations for the first quarter of 2011.

Within an interim management statement, covering the period 1 January to 9 May this year, Balfour said its order book had grown from the £15.2bn figure it reported at the end of last year, which was "despite an adverse foreign exchange translation impact".

In the UK, Balfour's construction order intake in the first quarter was ahead of its expectations, due to contracts won by its regional UK building business, including novated Rok contracts, and the confirmation of the award of a Crossrail contract for its civil engineering business.

Balfour has reached financial close on a £48m North West Fire & Rescue Services public private partnership project.

The company is currently upgrading community fire stations across Merseyside, Lancashire, and Cumbria.

In the statement Balfour said: "We have a good pipeline of PPP projects for which we are currently bidding including opportunities in fire and rescue and police stations, waste to energy systems, roads and hospitals.

"The financial position of the group remains good with a strong balance sheet to support our growth ambitions. Average net cash for the first quarter remained strong at approximately £340m after the pension deficit payment in December 2010, contributions to PPP investments and bolt-on acquisitions."

The statement added: "Balfour Beatty is now a global business generating more than £10bn of revenue across 80 countries in a diverse spread of sectors in the global infrastructure market.

"Over the medium and long term, we expect global infrastructure to be an attractive growth market. We have put in place a clear strategy, and the Group is well-placed to benefit from the growth in this market based on our depth of infrastructure knowledge, breadth of capability and the strength of our balance sheet.

While we do not expect, in the short term, a meaningful recovery in the UK and US infrastructure markets, we continue to expect to make progress this year."

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