Turnover down but robust performance in the roads division enables Laing to increase profit to £36m.

PFI specialist John Laing has grown profits 43% in the year ending 31 December 2005.

Pre-tax profit on continuing operations was up 43% to £35.8m, compared to £25m last year.

Yet group turnover overall was down, from £451.1m to £407.8m.

The firm said a successful rights issue in July and disposals into the secondary market had strengthened its financial position to support further investments.

The firm said the roads division has shown robust profits and further progress in development with projects in Finland and Poland reaching financial close.

But it also said that Chiltern Railways' performance had been adversely affected by the collapse of third party building works at Gerrards Cross.

However, liability for costs and lost revenues flowing from these events has been accepted by the counterparty to the relevant access agreements.

The group is currently short-listed for projects with a total capital value of £5bn with a potential Laing equity commitment of £205m

The group has six projects at preferred bidder stage to which it will commit £76m of equity

Bill Forrester, chairman of John Laing commented: "I am pleased to report that 2005 was another year of progress and growth for the company. Both the financial strength and the operational skill base of the company were augmented during the year and our expanded programme of bidding reflects the breadth and scope of the relevant opportunities now available."