Ground engineering specialist reports £17.7m decline in pre-tax profit but £85m increase in revenue

Ground engineering specialist Keller Group has blamed tough market conditions and a £21.8m “goodwill impairment charge” for a 55% drop in pre-tax profit for 2011.

Full year results show revenue up 8% to £1.15bn on 2010, but pre-tax profit down to £21.9m from £39.6m.

A statement from the company said its operating profit, profit before tax, and dividend payments for 2010 had been stated before the impairment charge.

Keller chief executive Justin Atkinson said the results reflected tough market conditions that “remained very challenging throughout 2011”, with the uncertain macro-economic outlook impeding any significant recovery in the company’s mature construction markets and overcapacity maintaining pressure on margins.

“Overall, whilst the business is expected to show steady improvement in 2012, the year will not be without further challenges, particularly given the economic uncertainty and a slow start to the year in Europe,” he said.

“However, with signs of strengthening demand in certain of our key markets, an increased number of larger projects in the order book and with the benefits of our group-wide business improvement initiatives starting to come through, we are confident that 2012 will be a year of progress.”

The company said it had an “all-time high order book” up 40% on 2011 - or up 10% excluding 2013/14 work.