Rise in UK public sector work also lies behind strong first-half results for maintenance and building group

IInterserve has reported an 18% rise in pre-tax profit for the first half of 2009, as it continues to perform well in the UK public sector.

The building and maintenance group saw turnover rise 4% to £951m, up from £913m last year. Pre-tax profit was £40m, up 18% from last year's figure of 33m.

The group said that trading in the Middle East and continued investment in the public sector had given it a period of “growth and development”.

Dubai construction work
Credit: Paul Keller
Opportunities in the Middle East have boosted Interserve's order book

Public sector contracts won during the period included a £280m contract for Sandwell's Building Schools for the Future programme, the £110m construction of Belmarsh East prison and a place on the Highways Agency's £400m framework to maintain and repair roads in the East and South-east.

In the Middle East, the firm has also won contracts in Qatar, Oman and the UAE, with opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Although it conceded that the UK private sector market remained challenging, Interserve said it had won work with HSBC, Argos and Alstom. It now has a total of £6.7bn of work on its books.

Lord Blackwell, chairman of Interserve, said: “With our record future workload, balanced and complementary operations in long-term growth markets, and the ability to explore and develop new markets the board remains confident that the group will maintain robust near-term performance and sustain long-term growth.”