Kier chairman Colin Busby fired a broadside at the City and contractors this week for undervaluing the construction sector.

His comments came as Kier unveiled preliminary results for the year to 30 June. These showed that pre-tax profit was up 28%, from £13.8m to £17.7m. Turnover rose to £1.03bn from £954.5m in 1999.

Busby said: “Many of our competitors are de-emphasising their construction activities and in some cases migrating to other stock market sectors. In our view, this underestimates the opportunities now in construction.”

Busby said Kier’s earnings per share had grown more than 30% in the past 12 months and had averaged increases of more than 25% a year since the company listed on the stock exchange four years ago.

Busby added that, although the firm believed the construction sector had a good future, Kier planned to expand further into support services. The firms’ construction division is to be renamed construction and services to reflect the change.

  • Housebuilder Barratt Developments reported that it had built 70% of its developments on brownfield land over the past year.

    The firm’s preliminary results for the year to 30 June show a 28% increase in pre-tax profit from £112m to £143.9m. Turnover was up to £1.25bn from £1.01bn.