Support services firm predicts 'enhanced earnings' in 2009 and reveals costs savings of £50m since acquisition of Alfred McAlpine

Support services giant Carillion has forecast double-digit profit growth in 2009 despite what it called the 'increasingly difficult economic background'.

In a trading update, the company said: “With a robust balance sheet, a strong order book and continuing opportunities in our main market sectors, Carillion continues to expect to build on its strong performance in 2008 and deliver materially enhanced earnings in 2009.”

In 2008, it said a lower tax charge and increased cost savings of £50m from the £555m acquisition of Alfred McAlpine in February would produce earnings per share growth of 15%.

It also forecast strong turnover growth in 2008 at its support services division at margins above the level of 4.1% achieved in 2007.

In the Middle East it said growth would be increasingly driven by Abu Dhabi as activity levels tail off in Dubai. It said it was on track to increase turnover in the region from £337m in 2007 to over £600m by the end of 2009.

In its construction business outside the Middle East, it said it remained focussed on growing margins rather than the top-line.