Engineer Halcrow is continuing to bid for work in Iraq despite the security problems.

It hopes to be awarded a contract by the government to build a metro system in Baghdad. A decision will be made in the next few weeks.

Halcrow had worked on designs for the project in the late 1970s but abandoned them when Saddam Hussein dropped the scheme after going to war with Iran in 1980.

Halcrow started talking to the transport ministry about 20 months ago, using the original designs.

The firm is also set to work on a port project on the south coast after its client, an undisclosed developer, was appointed preferred bidder last month.

Halcrow is also on a shortlist of two to build dams at Bekhme, on a tributary of the Tigris north of Baghdad, and Shandla.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has blamed costs incurred in its takeover fight against Gerald Ronson for a 3.5% dip in its annual pre-tax profit from £82m to £79m for the year to 31 October 2005.