Kier Group, the contractor and housebuilder, said this week that profit for the year to 30 June 2006 would be at the higher end of expectations and “well ahead of last year”.

Kier, which last year made pre-tax profit of £60.4m, said its performance had been boosted by the regional construction business, about half of which was generated in the public sector, particularly education.

The support services division, including building maintenance, also turned in strong results.In housing, it had 1522 completions in the year to 30 June 2006, up 25% on the previous year. Kier also said it had a substantial order book for next year.

It is expected to announce its annual results on 14 September.