Regional contractor posts pre-tax profit to 20 November 2005 of £7.43m, up from £0.5m in 2004.

Regional contractor Pochin's has revealed a 70% hike in turnover after recording record sales of £77.7m in the second half of 2005.

In the six months to 30 November 2005, the firm posted a pre-tax profit for the period hit £7.43m, up from about £0.5m in 2004.

The firm said that its forward order book was "healthy" at £77m, but that the second half of the year was expected to be stronger than the first.

In this morning's statement, chairman John Woodcock said: "The exceptional result was derived from property sales, the most significant being the sale of the student accommodation development, pre-let to the Manchester Metropolitan University at Crewe."

Woodcock added his regret at the death of non-executive deputy chairman Peter Dickson in an accident while on holiday. He said: "[Dickson] was hugely valued as a member of the team. We shall miss him greatly. I would again like to extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs Dickson and family."