Board reshuffle moves Middle East boss to head up UK building business as forward orders plummet nearly £3bn

Carillion's executive director responsible for UK building and private finance has resigned from the board today and will be leaving the company, the firm said in a statement to the city.

The statement said David Hurcomb, stepped down “with the board's best wishes.” The news follows a reduction in the firm's construction revenues in the UK in the second half of the year.

The statement said he had “played a key role in creating a strong and selective construction capability, which also supports the delivery of integrated solutions for Public Private Partnership projects and the development of our support services business.”

The firm also announced it was appointing Richard Howson, its Middle East managing director, to the board as executive director of Carillion plc, responsible for the group's UK building and Middle East businesses.

The reshuffle came as the firm admitted its forward order book had fallen by nearly £3bn since the summer according to the firm's pre-close trading update.

However the company said the fall in forward orders, from £19.7bn to £17bn, was largely due to the sale of investments in the last few months, which had been expected to bring in revenues of £2.6bn.

Carillion sold part of its interest in two PPP schemes - GCHQ and Allenby Connaught - as well as it environmental consultancy business in the last few months, for a total of £113m.

The trading update said: “New order intake remains healthy and we continue to have a high quality order book. The expected reduction in order book value at the year end to around £17 billion , follows the sale of two further PPP equity investments and the disposal of the Group's non-core environmental consultancy business in the second half, which had a combined order book value of over £2.6 billion.”

The firm said it was expecting earnings per share, before amortization and exceptional costs, to increase by 10% by the year end. In addition it said revenue from the Middle East would grow from £464m last year to £600m in 2009, primarily driven by growth in Abu Dhabi.

However, it also admitted the construction revenue in the UK would be down, but did not say by how much.