Nicolas Villen, chief executive of Spanish contractor Ferrovial, said growth in its construction division would be flat this year but would pick up in 2008.

His warning came as the company, which owns BAA, revealed that its net profit for the first nine months of the year rose to *808.8m (£550m), up from *333.4m (£232) a year earlier, but slightly below City expectations.

Villen said: “Construction has been the least brilliant business line with growth at zero. But we have been able to maintain margins and the order book, which bodes well for growth next year.”

The City expects Ferrovial’s construction division to post single digit growth in 2008.