Chairman of support services group, Steven Norris, is positive about interim results despite downturn in rail contracts

Support services group Jarvis has posted a pre-tax loss of £1.5m for the six months to 30 September, marking a significant improvement on the £59.3m loss in 2005.

However, turnover from continuing operations has fallen from £177.7m to £153m partly because of a downturn in rail contracts and also because of the virtual winding-up of its construction operations.

In a statement Steven Norris, Jarvis chairman, said that a slowdown in the awards of rail and plant contracts had suppressed its financial performance in the first half, but that this was still the most profitable part of the business.

Turnover in the rail division is down to £66.8m from £95.1m for the same period last year. The company said it was about to sign a five-year framework deal for signalling work in north-east London with Network Rail worth £10m and the second phase of the Rugby station area remodelling would start shortly.

Since its near collapse in 2005 Jarvis has slimmed down its business, and now focuses mainly on rail work having left the PFI arena.

It plans to disposed of its loss-making accommodation services contracts and sold its roads business Prismo for £9.5m earlier this week.

Norris, said: “We still have challenges to overcome, but continued focus on operational improvement and strategic repositioning now sees us in a position few would have given us credit for only two years ago... I believe there will be more and better to come in the years ahead.”