Kvaerner Construction recovered from a “very slow” first quarter to unveil improved interim results this week.

The contractor logged pre-tax profit before goodwill of £9m in the six months to 30 June 1999, boosted by a 37% rise in the second quarter. Turnover was up 8% in the second quarter, taking the half-year figure to £621m.

Chief executive Keith Clarke cited delays to public sector projects in the Far East, which affected subsidiary Gammon, for the poor start to the year.

He said: “There was a bit of a blip in the timing, but the market in Hong Kong and the Far East is quite stable now.”

Commenting on the half-year results, Clarke said: “There is no boom. We are having a steady performance. We are increasing our performance on profits rather than simply riding a wave of higher turnover.”

Clarke also said that the firm’s current mood was “cheery” because construction would be remaining a core part of Kvaerner Group. Kvaerner group has been undergoing a restructuring since April.