Profit disposal dents results but PFI specialist sees portfolio swell with new contracts from UK and Europe.

John Laing has announced an underlying profit increase of 38% for the six months to 30 June 2005, up to £13.8 m for the half-year period.

The figures, which are the first Laing has presented under IFRS, show that profits after tax actually slipped from £9m in the first half of 2004 to £8.2m for the same period this year due to disposal profits of £2.9m in 2004.

Laing said that its strong position in both the UK and mainland Europe had enabled it to increase its portfolio valuation to £335m at the end of 2004, up 9%

The group has recently been named as preferred bidder on several PFI/PPP projects, including the £800m Leicester Pathways Hospitals project, the £240m South Lanarkshire Schools project and a road project in Finland worth £228m. It has also bid for the £550m Dulles Toll Road project, its first bid for a PPP contract in the United States.

Bill Forrester, Chairman of John Laing, said: “I am pleased to report on six months in which John Laing's development has accelerated and we have extended the investment portfolio into new markets. We have the financial resources required to grow the Group and optimise value from disposals during the next phase of our development.”