The fall in private commercial work has hit the bottom line at engineering and environmental consultant Waterman

In the six months to 31 December 2009, it announced a pre-tax profit of £456,000 on a turnover of £42.9m, which compared with a £3.1m profit on turnover of £71.1m in the same period in 2009. The group’s net debt has fallen 25% to £7.7m since June 2009.

Nick Taylor, chief executive, said: “The property sector, which historically provides more than 75% of the group’s turnover, has remained depressed by the downturn in the economy. Trading conditions have been flat during the past six months, albeit at a consistent monthly level.”

The company said it would target the growing markets of energy and power work.

The turnover split across its four UK divisions was as follows: civils (£16.9m), structures (£6.1m), building services (£4.1m) and environmental (£3.9m).

Overseas, turnover fell 21% from £19.6m to £15.5m, where it has also suffered with a drop in private property work.

Taylor said: “One third of Waterman’s revenue comes from overseas projects and the company is well placed with a first class range of clients. I am confident that when the property sector starts to recover, then we will see a return to growth.”