The piling firm’s UK division made a £2.5m loss during 2010, despite cost cuts

Kier has posted a £2.5m loss following a downturn in its UK markets in the second half of the year.

A statement accompanying the release of Keller’s 2010 results, released today, said: “Market conditions in the UK continued to be very challenging, particularly in the housing and commercial sectors, which together have historically accounted for much of the revenue of our UK business and where we continue to await signs of recovery.”

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“Despite actions taken in the first half to reduce overheads and operating costs, these were not sufficient to offset the impact on the full-year results of a significant reduction in volume in the second half.”

Overall, revenues at the firm were slightly higher in 2010 than 2009. The financial year ending 31 December 2010 saw revenues of £1.07bn, compared to £1.04bn during 2009. Pre-tax profits during 2010 fell by 47%, ending the year at £39.6m, compared to £74.7m in 2009.

The bulk of the firm’s business is in the US and in this division, revenues were down around 10%, to £425m but operating profit in the US plummeted from £32.2m in 2009, to just £6.9m in 2010.

The firm said: “These results reflect a combination of the impact of the adverse weather conditions in the first quarter, severe pressure on margins across the US foundation businesses and, as anticipated, a loss at Suncoast.”

The group’s best performing division, in terms of revenue growth, was its Australian business. Revenue increased from £126.9m in 2009 to £193.8m in 2010. This business is experienced strong demand during 2010, albeit at a lower rate than in the previous two years.

Last year, as the firm’s UK business was in decline, it was offering the chance for UK based workers to transfer to Australia and help satisfy the strong demand there.

Commenting on today’s results, Keller chief executive Justin Atkinson said: “Keller faced many challenges in 2010, particularly in the US and much of Western Europe,
where construction markets remained depressed.”

“However, our combination of strengths, including the breadth of our product offering, excellent operational capabilities and a strong balance sheet to support our ambitions, have served us well in the past and will underpin our delivery of sustained long-term growth in the future.”