Delays in contract starts are blamed for lower second-half profit expectations

Shares in building and civil engineering company Tolent have tumbled by more than 20% after it issued a profit warning for the six months to 31 December 2008.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange, the company said: “At the time of announcing the interim results on 20th August 2008 we reported continuing difficult trading conditions as a number of project starts were delayed or deferred.

“Since that date there have been further delays in terms of start dates for new contracts. The impact of this will be that the both the turnover and the profit for the second half of the year will be lower than had been anticipated.”

Shortly after the announcement its shares were 21% down to 59p.

The consensus forecast for the year to 31 December 2008 was pre-tax profit of £3m on turnover of £164m.

The company added: “The cash position of the group remains positive and that together with the forward workload provides the group with a solid base to trade through this difficult period for both the construction industry and the economy in general.”