Birse Construction has become the latest contractor to restructure in an effort to focus on relationships with its key clients.

The group, which last week returned to profit under the auspices of new chief executive Peter Watson, has reorganised into three divisions: civil engineering (including rail), building and process engineering.

Former management consultant Watson, who joined the group seven months ago, said: "The split will not only bring the benefits of market and client specialisation but will also facilitate a more structured development of senior management." He expects to appoint at least one more non-executive director by May.

Birse reported pre-tax profit of £2.4m for the six months to 31 October 1999, compared with a £1.9m loss a year earlier. Watson attributed the turnaround to the firm's concentration on clients that could "offer acceptable margins and reliable cash flows". Turnover for the group fell £13m to £181m, and net construction margins doubled from 0.5% to 1%.