The chief executive of groundworks specialist Keller, has said government stimulus packages will only begin to benefit construction firms “well into 2010”

Speaking after the group broke the £1bn-turnover barrier for 2008, Justin Atkinson said a lot rested on the speed and effectiveness of government measures but he did not expect any benefit in 2009.

Pre-tax profit at Keller was up 10%, from £103m to £113m. Turnover hit £1.19bn, up 25% on last year. The operating margin fell from 11.2% to 10%.

Its US arm contributed £532.1m to turnover, and £442.2m came from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, £137.1m from Australia and £85.2m from the UK.

Keller ended 2008 with net debt of £84.6m but said it was well within its banking covenants.