Jarvis sparked rumours of a break-up last week when it announced that it had hired merchant bank Close Brothers to conduct a strategic review of the business.

Steven Norris, the chairman, said it had appointed the financial adviser to work with the management on “taking appropriate action on underperforming business units”. However, the company denies that it will be putting parts of the business up for sale.

The news of the review came at the company’s annual general meeting last week, at which Norris presented a trading update to shareholders.

He said that although he expected recovery in the second half of the year this would depend on winning new contracts in its plant and rail divisions.

Earlier this year Jarvis posted a pre-tax loss of £56.6m for the 12 months to 30 March. This compared with a loss of £391m the previous year. It expects to break even this year.

The company also announced that it has nearly completed its construction activities, with only one project left to finish. Jarvis decided more than a year ago to exit construction, as part of its reorganisation.