Group says 2004 profit expectations are on track and announces £1bn order book.

Costain Group has announced a forward order book in excess of £1bn at the end of last year. In a trading statement it also said that profit to the year ended 31 December 2005 was in line with expectations.

The group said its water division had a particularly strong year with it securing five to ten-year contracts with Thames, Yorkshire, Welsh Water and Severn Trent.

In the building division turnover increased and Costain won a number of large contracts including Kingston Hospital, Ealing Schools and the St Martins-in-the-Fields redevelopment.

A Costain joint venture with China Harbour recently won a £90m contract to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in China.

Stuart Doughty, chief executive, said: “Costain made further, and significant, progress during the year. These recent contract wins and those in the utilities sector underline the recognition that Costain is a leading contractor, having significantly de-risked the business and focussing on key areas of operation in both building and civil engineering.”