Group will concentrate on low-risk activities after building division records six month loss of £16.6m.

MJ Gleeson has sold its building business following a £16.6m loss in the division.

The losses contributed to a pre-tax loss of £6.7m at the Group for the six months to 31 December 2004, compared with a £3.3m profit last year.

The group said that it new senior management team was in the process of buying the building division.

Gleeson will be left with the engineering division, Gleeson Homes, Gleeson Regeneration, and Gleeson Properties, which the board says are all trading strongly.

Gleeson also announced the resignation of group managaing director Andrew Muncey and the appointment of Terry Massingham as group chief executive, who was formerly been managing director of Gleeson Homes.

The £16.6m loss was identified during a review of contracts undertaken following the recent restructuring of the building divisions and include a £1.5m exceptional charge for restructuring.

Turnover during the period decreased by 13.2% to £266.3m. The order book in construction services at 1 March 2005 totalled £770m or £609m without the building division. Gleeson said that the latter related to low-risk three-to-five year partnerships.

Chairman Dermot Gleeson said: “The proposed sale of Gleeson Building will further reduce, very substantially, the group's exposure to construction risk.”

“Our remaining businesses are performing strongly and have considerable potential for further profitable growth.”