Kier posts solid H1 results

Kier Group, which employs 920 people in the region and has offices in Manchester, Liverpool and Wigan, reported an 11% rise in revenue to £1.6bn for the six months to the end of 2014 compared to £1.4bn in the same part of 2013.

The contractor is currently on site with the £450m Mersey Gateway second bridge across the river between Runcorn and Widnes and the £40m Liverpool Schools Investment Programme.

In Manchester, Kier is delivering a £40m programme of works for the University Hospitals of South Manchester Foundation Trust. The first project is two theatres and work is currently underway. Kier is also building a special school in Timperley and the £5m Wythenshawe bus and tram interchange due for completion in 2016.

The Wigan office is home to KMI Plus, a joint venture between Kier Infrastructure, J Murphy & Sons, Interserve Construction and Mouchel. KMI Plus has been working on a £400m framework contract with United Utilities with over £100m of work still to deliver over the next 18 months.

Kier said profits for the half-year were £44m, the same as H1 2013, and the order book of secured and probable construction work in the future was also steady at £2.6bn. The property development pipeline sits at more than £1bn and the group said it has a strong forward sales position in its residential division.

On margins, Kier Construction is operating at 2.1% profit, which it said was "robust…due to a strict approach to bidding" and Kier Services was at 4.2%.

The net debt position on 31 December was £156m compared to £123m in June, following after investment of £37m in the property and residential divisions.

Haydn Mursell, chief executive, said the business was on course to meet expectations for the full year.

The interim dividend was increased to 24p a share. The share price fell 16p to 1717p.

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