Ian Tyler announced as new chief executive as Balfour Beatty pre-tax profit grows 45% to £61m.

Balfour Beatty has announced that group chief executive Mike Welton is to be replaced by chief operating officer Ian Tyler. Welton is retiring from the company and will leave the board at the end of the year. Welton has been chief executive since 1996.

Balfour Beatty also announced a pre-tax profit of £61m for the six months to 26 June 2004, up 45% from last year. Turnover also increased by 14% to £1,922m, and the interim divident rose 10% to 2.85p.

The contractor said that the good results in the first half of the year partly reflected the termination of rail contracts with Network Rail. In a joint statement chairman Sir David John and Wilton said: “This year, due to a number of settlements, most notably in UK rail maintenance, a higher proportion of our profits than normal will fall in the first half year.”

From the end of 2003 Balfour Beatty said its order book had grown from £5.8bn to £6.5bn. The track replacement business contributed by topping annual sales of £200m, which included new five-year contracts awarded by Network Rail for UK rail renewals work.

The firm said that the winning of preferred bidder status at Birmingham Hospital and North Lanarkshire Schools, had also boosted turnover, bringing the value of its PPP work to £200m.

In the PPP sector Balfour Beatty gained preferred bidder status at Birmingham Hospital and North Lanarkshire Schools. Along with the acquisition of Atkins’ interest in Connect Roads, the company’s equity committed to PPP topped £200m.

Balfour Beatty also said the strong figures reflected the successful integration of UK contractor Mansell which it acquired in Decmember 2003.

The company said it was optimistic about prospects in its key markets and said that the UK infrastructure sector had been underpinned by the Government's interim spending review. John and Welton said: "We anticipate that 2004 will be a year of good progress in line with current expectations."