Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine made a £5.7m loss for the year to 30 October 2002 after it was hit by spiralling PFI costs and contract difficulties.
This loss follows a £3.1m operating profit in 2001, which itself followed two loss-making years for the private contractor. Turnover rose £181m to £675m.

Parent group Newarthill said in a statement: "Construction had a busy year but the results were adversely affected by heavy PFI bidding costs and expenses, together with an unsatisfactory contract."

The group saw the value of its PFI contracts with hospital and school schemes rise £10m to £24m. It also changed its method of accounting for PFI deals: instead of treating PFI stakes as fixed assets, it now marks them down as debts.

Newarthill, which also has property, wind energy and aviation interests, saw overall pre-tax profit fall from £11.1 in 2001 to £4.6m. Turnover increased from £754m to £818m.