Alfred McAlpine chief executive Oliver Whitehead has trumpeted the firm’s interim figures as “best of class” for the construction sector.

The housebuilder and contractor increased pre-tax profit by 21% to £21m, while turnover rose £33m to £388.6m for the six months to 30 June. Group pre-tax margins stand at 5.4%. Whitehead said: “It’s been five years of continual improvement, and there are good opportunities for all our businesses in the next few years.”

Whitehead added that the firm was interested in joining the latest wave of industry consolidation. He said: “It’s in the interests of companies and shareholders to look at this. If an opportunity appears, we will look at it.”

The firm’s housing division increased operating profit 26% to £20.4m. Sales fell 8% to 1268 but average selling price rose 15% to £125 100. The group said the majority of its housing was on brownfield sites and that it was growing in the urban regeneration market.

McAlpine’s construction services division made an operating profit of £6m on turnover of £189.2m, and the group made a pre-tax profit of £800 000 from private finance initiative schemes.

The group said its special projects division had won £40m worth of work from existing customers. In civil engineering, the group won three new road maintenance contracts as well as a further three-year partnership with South West Water. The group was positive about government infrastructure spending.

The group has also announced the appointment of Hanson chairman Christopher Collins as non-executive director and special projects managing director Andy White as executive director.