Kvaerner Construction has announced a pre-tax profit rise of 52% to £27.3m for the year to 31 December 1999.

Turnover grew 10% to £1.3bn for the year and construction margins rose from 1.5% to 2.1%.

Chief executive Keith Clarke attributed the results to a strategy that began four years ago. This aimed to return the company to profit by selective bidding and focusing on niche areas.

Clarke also welcomed the exit of other construction firms from general contracting. He said: “We say, jolly good chaps to those getting out. We’re still in the market and we’re rather good at it. Why get out of construction when you can improve on it?”

Clarke said he was considering a number of acquisitions. “We are certainly looking and we are certainly able to buy,” he said.

However, he confirmed that the company was not going to buy troubled Manchester contractor Fearnley, despite speculation late last year.