Building materials firm expects rise in operating profit despite challenging UK market

Hanson has announced an expected 10% rise in operating profit for the year ended 31 December 2006..

In a trading statement the international building materials firm said trading for the second half had been in line with expectations.

Hanson said the rise in profit from £488.8m in 2005 was mainly due to growth from its two US operations. The firm also reported a healthy growth in its UK businesses despite what it referred to as a “challenging” market.

It said that it expected full year aggregates and ready-mixed concrete volumes to be below last year, but added that the acquisition of Civil and Marine in March 2006 had contributed to strong earnings in the aggregates business.

Hanson said demand for building products in the UK was starting to show tentative signs of recovery, although full year profits are expected to be bellow 2005.

Operating impairments were estimated to be around £4m. The company said it expected net debts to be around £1.4m this year.

Chief executive Alan Murray said: “Hanson has continued to deliver earnings growth in 2006 against a strong 2005. We remain confident in the future.”