Revenue for the six months to 30th June 106 remained stable at £1,148 (2015: £1,152m) but adjusted pre-tax profit was up 21% to £16.1m (2015: £13.3m).
At an operating level, last year’s £25m first-half loss became a £17.5m profit this year.
In the first half of 2015 Morgan Sindall wrote off £40m for historic losses on the Faslane naval base project in Scotland, which pushed it into a £27.2m pre-tax loss for the period. There is no such red ink this time, although a further £700,000 exceptional charge was logged against a second old contract that transferred as part of the acquisition of the design and project services division of Amec in 2007 – thus drawing a line under the affair.
Overall, the Construction & Infrastructure division continued its recovery, with adjusted operating profit of £3.2m (2015: £0.3m) on revenue down 2% to £612m, giving a 0.5% operating margin.
The Fit Out division also improved, with operating profit up 11% to £11.5m (2015: £10.4m) and the operating margin increasing to 3.9% (2015: 3.5%).
Chief executive John Morgan said: "The group has delivered strong profit growth in the first half, with an improved cash position and lower average net debt across the period. All divisions have contributed, demonstrating the strategic and operational progress made across the group over the last few years.”
Last year’s net debt position of £8m became £36m net cash by 30th June 2016.
On the potential impact of Brexit, he added: “The EU referendum result has introduced some uncertainty into the markets in which we operate and it's still too early to determine what the potential impact on the group will be in the medium and longer term. For the current year, however, based upon current trading patterns, our high quality secured order book and the visible pipeline of opportunities, the group is on track to deliver a full year result slightly above its previous expectations."