Deferral of construction projects hits half year results but £81m forward book gives regional contractor confidence for 2007

North West construction group Pochin has been hit by a 41% drop in profit for the first half, amid a struggle to stabilise following its return to the black last year.

Pre-tax profit was £4.4m for the six months to 30 November, compared to £74.5m in the corresponding period the previous year. Turnover fell 29% to £53.2m, from £74.5m in the previous year.

The group’s results were affected by the deferral of a number of projects in its contracting division, although it now has a forward order book of £81m. The company has also taken action to reduce deficit in its final salary pension scheme, with all stakeholders agreeing to revised benefits.

Pochin returned to profit last year following a restructuring of its construction services business.

Richard Fildes, chairman, said: “The group has made a solid start to the second half of the year, which should result in a satisfactory outcome for the full year.”