Ground engineer Keller beds down for better performance in second half of 2004 after pre-tax profit falls 13% to £11.2m.

Pre-tax profit at the Keller Group slipped 13% to £11.2m for the six months ended June 30 2004. Turnover increased by 6% to £294.1m.

The international ground engineering specialist said the fall in profit was due to a £0.8m loss at its Makers engineering repairs division and adverse currency fluctuations, which accounted for losses of £1.1m.

Justin Atkinson, Keller Chief Executive said: 'We go into the second half with a solid order book, representing around four months' sales. Based on this and our current trading, the board anticipates that the Group's performance for the year as a whole will be in line with expectations.'

'We have made real progress in addressing the issues in Makers and Suncoast, which held back our 2003 results and the Group is now well positioned for the remainder of the year."

Keller said it expected Makers to return to profitability in the second half of the year. It said work in the social housing sector had increased compared to the previous year as delayed work originally scheduled for 2003 came through in the first half of 2004.