Electrical and contracting firm “flags” but raises dividend by 25% in anticipation of improving market conditions.

Pre-tax profit at electrical and contracting company T. Clarke has halved to £3m for the six months to 30 June 2004. Group turnover also fell to £71.2m from £77.9m over the same period last year.

Chief executive Pat Stanborough blamed the performance on difficult market conditions. He said: “As we have flagged for some time, this half has proved to be challenging”.

However, T. Clarke said that gathering momentum in the commercial sector gave strong indications of an improving trading environment in the second half of 2004 particularly in the Home Counties. As a result the firm has raised the interim dividend by 2p to 10p.

The firm predicted improved activity levels in London in 2005 and 2006 and said it had an excellent pipeline of work. It said that it would be looking to expand its regional network particularly in the South West.

Stanborough said: “Looking forward the prospects for the Group are very good. Our recent acquisistions have bedded down well and, as the commercial property development market improves, the board is confident that our core business will deliver an improved performance.”