Growth in construction division lifts Kier profit 23% despite 6% fall in housing turnover

Kier has announced a 23% jump in pre-tax profit to £44.6m on the back of 18% turnover growth to £1.2bn in the six months to 31 December 2007.

John Dodds
Dodds: If all we did was sell houses I’d be a worried man

The strong growth came despite poor figures at its housebuilding division, where turnover fell from £151.8m to £143.2m and the average sale price dipped from £175,200 to £173,200. Although chief executive John Dodds wouldn’t reveal numbers, he said reservations to 1 February 2008 were 20% down on the previous year.

Dodds said: “If all we did was sell houses I’d be a worried man but these results vindicate the policy of having a spread of businesses.”

Turnover in the construction arm grew 21% to £816m and operating profit grew by 51% to £14.3m, which saw the margin grow from 1.4% to 1.8%.

In support services, turnover grew 26% to £179.3m and operating profit rose by 41.2% to £7.2m.

The results were broadly welcomed by the City. Kevin Cammack at Kaupthing called them “very strong” and Andy Brown at Panmure Gordon said the numbers were “better than expected”.