Building and support services firm says trading last year was in line with expectations

Planned increases in public sector spending in the UK and more overseas opportunities in the Gulf will help Interserve grow in 2009, the company said today.

The building and support services firm said trading had been in line with expectations in 2008, which saw it post a record forward order book of £6.2bn by the end of last year.

A clutch of contracts, including a £65m job to help build facilities for tanker-maintenance infrastructure in Qatar and the financial close of a £20m schools PFI scheme in Northern Ireland, all contributed to the order book.

In its trading statement, the firm added: “We continue to win new business in the UK in strong defensive sectors such as central and local government, education and health, though trading conditions in some private sector markets are becoming more challenging.”

Interserve said around two-thirds of its work traditionally comes from the public and privatised sectors and that virtually all of its 2009 revenue from these areas has already been secured.

Qatar is its largest market in the Middle East, but the firm said it is also eyeing more work in neighbouring states. It said: “There are exciting opportunities in Abu Dhabi, where our presence is growing, which together with our excellent position across other strong growth economies in the Gulf, most notably Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, means our prospects in the region remain highly attractive.”

The firm will unveils its 2008 results on 11 March.