There is no sign of a recession in the Midlands, regional contractor and housebuilder Galliford reported last week.

Galliford made good progress in the second half of 1998, reporting a 44% jump in pre-tax profit to £1.1m on turnover up 48% to £108m.

Galliford chief executive George Marsh said he expected the market to remain stable in the coming year: "We are in relatively unusual territory in that we see the market continuing to be stable for some time. It's probably a brave thing to say in construction but we are reasonably confident. I think it's good for the industry." Galliford's construction division more than doubled its operating profit from £263 000 in 1997 to £563 000 in the six months to 31 December 1998. The division's turnover was up 46% from £64m to £94m.

The construction arm is close to finalising its first large public-private partnership deal with Birmingham City Council. Under the £70m scheme, Galliford will finance, build and maintain 10 schools for the council.

Galliford's Stamford Homes and Midas Homes businesses reported 190 completions. Housebuilding turnover reached £13.8m, with the division making an operating profit of £944 000.