Ground engineer increases interim dividend 5%
Keller is increasing its interim dividend as the firm said it turned in a record first half performance.
The geotechnical engineer, which is working on parts of the HS2 scheme in the Midlands, said revenue in the six months to June was up 10% to £1.46bn with pre-tax profit jumping 70% to £43m.
Last month, the firm said it expected full year underlying operating profit to be materially ahead of previous market expectations and this morning reported that it was increasing its half-year dividend 5% to 13.9p to “reflect strong performance and confidence in both the second half and our longer-term prospects”.
It said its interim performance was underpinned by growth at its foundations business in North America along with improvements at its Australia division.
It also said it completed its first contract at the NEOM mixed-use scheme in Saudi Arabia and was still in discussions about a contract twice the size of its first £40m deal.
“However there has been an evolution of the design which in turn has delayed further work orders,” it added. “Our current expectation is we should be awarded a second works order later in the second half.”
The firm said it expected its Austral civils and marine division in Australia, in which operating profit was exaggerated by around £18m over several years and saw two senior figures fired as a result, to return to profitability in the second half.
Chief executive Michael Speakman said: “The continued momentum in the business, together with our strong order book underpins the Board’s confidence in the full year expectations which remain unchanged.”
Turnover at Keller last year was £3bn with pre-tax profit coming in at £56m.