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Tue May 18 2021

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Steady progress for Kier

23 Mar 17 Kier Group has reported steady half-year trading with little change in underlying revenue and profit but modest improvement in construction margins.

For the six months to 31st December 2017, Kier made underlying pre-tax profit of £46.3m (2015: £41.5m).

However, it was a period of reorganisation for Kier. The accounts show a £39m profit on the £75m sale of Mouchel Consulting to WSP in October 2016 but a £33m provision for closing the Caribbean operations.

The statutory results show group revenue up 1% to £1,996m for the first half and pre-tax profit of £34.9m. Excluding Mouchel Consulting, the equivalent 2015 profit figure was just £4.3m.

From construction activities, Kier saw underlying operating profit rise 19% to £20.8m with a 2% operating margin (2015: 1.9%). Construction revenue was up 8% for the period to £1,017m, a new high for the company. The order book stands at £3.3bn.

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Chief executive Haydn Mursell said: "Today's results reflect the ongoing financial and operational discipline employed across the group and the strength of our flexible, integrated business model.

"The group has a balanced portfolio of businesses and market leading positions in regional building, infrastructure and housing. Our continued focus on simplifying the portfolio and working with clients in a collaborative way is delivering further growth opportunities. Our clients recognise this approach as a key differentiator when working with Kier.

"The group's breadth provides some resilience against economic uncertainty and we continue to shape Kier to focus on our core competencies. We are encouraged by the pipeline in the property and residential businesses and our healthy order books of approximately £9bn in the construction and services businesses. We remain on course to deliver our expectations for the full year and we are well positioned to achieve our Vision 2020 goals."

There is change ahead in the boardroom though. Phil White retires as chairman after the AGM on 17th November 2017, to be succeeded by Philip Cox, who is the chairman of Drax Group and Global Power Generation and was previously chief executive of International Power from 2003 to 2013.

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