Edinburgh contractor and housebuilder Miller Group intends to target the government's secondary school refurbishment programme as it attempts to build on last year's record results.
Miller chief executive Keith Miller said that the introduction of NHS Lift-style bundles of schools contracts would complement the PFI and public-private partnership schools work it has obtained in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The government is expected to set aside up to £45bn for the secondary school refurbishment programme. He said: "We will be having a look at that. Education is an area that we are aiming to expand on."

Miller made the comments after the announcement of group results for the 12 months to 31 December. Pre-tax profit rose 36% on 2001 at £27.4m; turnover increased 14% to £657m.

The dividend rose from 18.6p in 2001 to 21.4p a share.

The company said that the housing division had performed particularly well since January, with orders of £234m, 65% of the housing target for the year.

Despite this strong start Miller chairman Bob Speirs warned that the economy was set to weaken.

He said: "The short term is uncertain with war in the Gulf. The medium-term outlook is weaker with all the world's major economies reporting only modest growth."

Earlier this year Tim Hough, managing director of Miller Homes, said that the group intended to set up another housebuilding arm in the south of England.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott has earmarked £600m for housing in four regions of the South-east over the next three years. Miller Homes hopes to pick up some of these contracts.