Contractor Morgan Sindall impressed the City this week with a solid set of half-year results, driven largely by the commercial fit-out and affordable housing sectors.

Pre-tax profit rose 39% to £18m in the six months to 30 June, compared with the first half last year, despite the fact that turnover grew only 2% to £615m.

John Morgan, the chairman of Morgan Sindall, said the firm achieved a net margin of 3% compared with 2.2% in the same period last year.

Morgan said: “Construction is not an easy business, but we were more selective on contracts and achieved the same profit in the first half as we did in the whole of last year.”

Profit in its construction business doubled to £1.3m. Morgan said the company had highlighted the next phase of NHS LIFT projects as a good opportunity, as well as work created by the 2012 Olympics.

Analysts at ABN Amro said the results were better than they had expected. Shares in Morgan Sindall rose 6.5p to 786p after the results were announced on Monday.