Groundworks specialist hit by decline in US construction markets

Groundworks specialist Keller has seen pre-tax profits fall almost £30m in the first six months of the year.

Revenue for the group was down 10% at £496.9m for the six months to June 30 compared to last year. First-half profit before tax was £11.3m down from £41.0m in 2009.

Chief executive Justin Atkinson said, “The first half has been a challenging period for the group particularly in the US, where the construction market continued to deteriorate.

However, we have been encouraged by the progress made in our developing markets, where we have continued our success of recent years in profitably growing our business. This demonstrates the benefit of our strategy of geographic diversification, to which we remain fully committed”.

With the continued market deterioration and severe weather in the early part of the year Keller has seen an operating loss in the US of £1m compared to profits of £18.6m in 2009. Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia saw operating profit drop by 53% on last year with an operating loss of £0.1m.

Market conditions in Australia however remain strong, fuelled by demand for resources from China and the rest of Asia, and increased infrastructure needs.