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Keller wants UK staff to move down under

2 Aug 10 Keller wants UK staff to transfer to its booming Australian business after delivering another disappointing set of results for the first half of 2010.

Keller wants UK staff to transfer to its booming Australian business after delivering another disappointing set of results for the first half of 2010.

The global ground engineering giant reported UK revenue of £28.1m for the six months ending 30 June 2010 (H1 2009: £30.7m) and an operating loss of £100,000 (H1 2009: loss of £400,000).

Chairman Roy Franklin said: “The UK market remains very challenging and our UK business has been further downsized to reflect this. Where possible, skilled people are being considered for transfer to other parts of the Group, such as Australia, where demand remains high.

“As part of the Crossrail project, we are currently working on a piling contract at London's Tottenham Court Road tube station and we are hopeful that the continuation of investment in Crossrail, together with other planned infrastructure projects which will call for specialist geotechnical and monitoring services, will underpin an improvement in our UK business in 2011.”

Internationally, Keller struggled in most of its markets, the exception being Australia, where turnover jumped from £62.8m to £80.7m.

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Across the group, revenue for the period totalled £496.9m, compared to £552.6m in the first half of 2009, while profit before tax was £11.3m, barely a quarter of the £41m reported a year ago.

Its net debt at 30 June 2010 increased to £121.5m, compared to £95.3m at the end of June 2009. However, this is partly attributable to spending £49.3m on acquisitions in Australia and the US.

Justin Atkinson, chief executive, said: "The first half has been a challenging period for the Group particularly in the US, where the construction market continued to deteriorate.

"However, we have been encouraged by the progress made in our developing markets, where we have continued our success of recent years in profitably growing our business. This demonstrates the benefit of our strategy of geographic diversification, to which we remain fully committed."

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